Los Alamos braced during wildfire

29 June 2011

Firefighting helicopter at Los Alamos National Lab (LANL)
Aerial firefighters fill up from a water tank at the Los Alamos site


Major fires continue to burn in the region of the USA's Los Alamos National Laboratory, which has been closed to non-essential staff since yesterday. 


Some of the lab's work relates to nuclear power, although the majority concerns the maintenance of the USA's nuclear weapons as well as other security issues. Site managers have taken steps to protect storage of radioactive and hazardous materials as well as supercomputer centres and a proton accelerator. The town supporting the site has also been evacuated.


Lab director Charles McMillan said the site's facilities and crew have been "fully mobilized" to support the authorities of Los Alamos County and the state of New Mexico as they tackle the Los Conchas wildfires, which have now razed about 45,000 acres (18,000 hectares).


A fire in "one remote technical area" of the site has gone out, although more serious fires remain active on the other side of a road at the site's southwest boundary. "Wildland fire risks are a key part of our safety analyses," said McMillan, "There are fire mitigations at all of our nuclear facilities, and I am confident in our ability to protect all of them."


Researched and written
by World Nuclear News