Dec 23

US to build two secret underground plutonium production labs: Analyst (PressTV, Dec 22, 2013):

The United States is planning to build two new underground plutonium production labs that will expand plutonium production for the next decades, an analyst says.

“The Senate two days ago voted to authorize the creation of two new huge secret underground plutonium production labs that will expand plutonium production for the next 150 years,” Brian Becker, national coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition, told Press TV on Saturday.

“That is a very important fact and I think the world is not yet learning about it or just learning about it,” he added.

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Jun 30

Earthquake Could Cause Los Alamos Plutonium Facility to Collapse (Nextgov, June 27, 2013):

An earthquake could collapse the building at Los Alamos National Laboratory, N.M., where plutonium cores of nuclear bombs are produced, releasing deadly doses of radiation, the Department of Energy’s inspector general reported on Thursday

The IG also said systems designed to suppress fires in structures that store 5,600 containers of nuclear waste suffered from numerous pipe breaks and freeze damage. Forest fires in 2000 and 2011 resulted in evacuation of the lab and the city of Los Alamos.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages the lab, dismissed earthquake concerns. “There is a rare probability of a seismic event occurring in Los Alamos of sufficient magnitude to cause a significant plutonium release from PF-4,” NNSA said, referring to the plutonium facility.

Greg Mello, director of the Albuquerque-based watchdog Los Alamos Study Group, said NNSA downplayed earthquake risks.

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Jul 23

Ship carrying nuclear cargo slips in, out of port (Savannah Morning News, July 22, 2011):

The Port of Savannah had a rare visit this week when the Atlantic Osprey, one of the International Nuclear Services’ fleet of specially equipped nuclear fuel transport vessels, docked Monday at Ocean Terminal.

The Osprey, which slipped in and out of port relatively unnoticed, was carrying containers holding six casks of nuclear fuel irradiated in the now-closed French fast reactor Phenix.

It’s part of the Department of Energy’s now-defunct Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.

The material is being returned to the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico — reportedly its source of origination — for “post irradiation examination.”

Sources tell us the ship departed Cherbourg, France, on June 28 and was met on arrival in Savannah by escort teams from Los Alamos and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The material was off-loaded to trucks for the 1,600-plus mile trek to the Los Alamos facility, a Department of Energy nuclear research institution charged with ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear program.

Calls to the Los Alamos National Lab were referred to the National Nuclear Security Agency in Washington, D.C., which did not return requests for information.

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Jul 20

Head of NM resource protection office resigns (AP, Jul 20, 2011):

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The head of the resource protection division at the New Mexico Environment Department has resigned, but the agency isn’t offering any details.

Department spokesman Jim Winchester confirmed Jim Davis’ resignation was effective Tuesday morning.

Winchester also confirmed that the department restructured some operations Monday and that included removing the state’s hazardous waste bureau from Davis’ division.

The bureau is responsible for oversight and technical guidance related to the generation of hazardous waste as well as its storage and disposal.

This includes work at Sandia and Los Alamos laboratories and the federal government’s nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico.

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Jul 20

Potential flash floods still a concern (KRQE, July 19, 2011):

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – As crews continue to try and fully contain the Las Conchas fire near Los Alamos there is still a lot of concern about flash floods in the burned out areas.

Officials are especially concerned about the canyons around Los Alamos where nuclear materials from the lab have gotten into the soil over the decades since World War II.

A legislative committee held a hearing in Santa Fe on the risks from that.

Lab officials insisted there is nothing to worry about, but lawmakers are still concerned.

The lab said it closely monitors runoff that ends up in the Rio Grande and if there were any threat there, they would have plenty of time to alert people.

Santa Fe gets 40 percent of its drinking water from the Buckman channel which is fed by the Rio Grande.

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Jul 18

Firefighters head off to help Los Alamos (Daily Times, July 16, 2011):

FARMINGTON — Despite the prospect of rough conditions, sleeping in tents and surviving on camp rations, a crew of unfazed Farmington firefighters left for Los Alamos on Friday.

The federal government issued a call for help from fire departments and wild land firefighting organizations all across the nation since the Las Conchas fire started last month.

“We were getting resource requests daily during the Fourth of July,” said Farmington Fire Department Battalion Chief Nick Mrzlak. “They were in a real bind looking for manpower.”

This is Farmington’s second deployment. Each time, all the city could afford to send was a single engine crew.

“The city’s needs come first,” Mrzlak said. “July 4 is one of our busiest times of the year. It’s all about what the city can spare.”

An engine crew consists of a “Brush Engine,” which is a four-wheel drive super-duty Ford 550 with a pump and 300-gallon tank, three men and a whole heap of hoses and gear.

What an onlooker doesn’t see is the level of training that is riding alongside.

“We all have our wild land certification,” said team leader Duane Bair. “That’s the main reason they’re calling us.”

That and the fact that Bair, Robert Sterrett and Zac Brock are not only certified in fighting wild fire, they also have extensive training in hazardous material and rescue operations.

Despite the major difference between the Los Alamos fire and other wild land fires, this crew wasn’t the least bit nervous. In fact, they were excited as they loaded the truck Friday afternoon.

The difference can be summed up in a single word, “radiation,” a word that not only resonates with the recent catastrophe in Japan, it also draws up memories of some of the worst events in modern history.

“We spend all this time training so when we finally get to use it it’s a relief,” Sterrett said. “It’s definitely going to be a change of pace.”

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Jul 18

To see the actual results visit the link.

New Las Conchas Fire Air Sample Monitoring Information (New Mexico Environment Department (Radiation Control Bureau), July 11, 2011):

The air sample monitoring units were set in various locations and managed by the DOE Radiological Assistance Program as requested by the New Mexico Environment Department. The air sample monitoring and locations were validated for accuracy by the New Mexico Environment Department, Radiation Control Bureau.

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Jul 06


Added: 05.07.2011

Concerns rising over US plans to build massive plutonium bomb factory in Los Alamos (PressTV, July 4, 2011):

Experts are warning about the U.S. plans to build a massive plutonium bomb factory in the Los Alamos nuclear plant in New Mexico.

“They are proposing to build this new facility to make the plutonium production for weapons production four times (than) their current capacity of 20 pits per year,” said Subhankar Banerjee, Founder of ClimateStoryTellers.org.

“This is a very bad plan to build a massive nuclear bomb facility within a fire zone and the fires are only getting worse with climate change and it is also sitting on a very active seismic zone that (the) scientists have underestimated seriously but those results are coming out now and it’s also sitting in between Valles Caldera which is a super volcano and on the west and then on the east is [the] Rio Grand river which is our main water source. So we are working on … we are getting the public engaged to oppose this nuclear facility right now so it’s both fire, nuclear and Native American devastation all happening right now in New Mexico,” said Banerjee.

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Jul 01

Los Alamos Takes Supercomputers Offline (Data Center Knowledge, June 30, 2011):

The wildfire threatening Los Alamos, New Mexico has gained national attention, largely due to concerns about the safety of nuclear waste at Los Alamos National Labs, which played a key role in the Manhattan Project and nuclear weapons development and testing. As we noted Monday, the Department of Energy facility also houses two of the world’s leading supercomputers, the Cielo and Roadrunner systems. Those systems have been taken offline, Computerworld reports.“

A Los Alamos spokeswoman said the laboratory conducted an ‘orderly shutdown’ of two of its largest supercomputers,” writes Patrick Thibodeau at ComputerWorld. “IBM’s Roadrunner, the first the break the petaflop barrier in 2008, and now the 10th ranked most powerful supercomputer in the world, and Cielo, a Craig system that is ranked No. 6 on the Top500 list. The supercomputer shutdowns were conducted ‘early on,’ but an exact day or reason for the action wasn’t clear.”

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Jul 01

On this fourth day of the devastating Las Conchas fire which is threatening Los Alamos, New Mexico, the night sky finally cleared enough to see the flames licking all around the labs and the city.

This time-lapse video is comprised of 113 photographs taken 30 seconds apart. Each photograph is shown for one second. My vantage point is from my home on a ridge just to the north of Santa Fe.

You can see quick changes in the fires, stars in the sky, and emergency vehicles making their way on fire duties. The brightest lights are the headquarters of the Los Alamos labs and other technical areas are to the left. To the right is the Los Alamos town site. Below the headquarters is the suburb of White Rock.

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Jul 01

Fukushima Spews, Los Alamos Burns, Vermont Rages & We Almost Lost Nebraska (Hawaii Daily News, June, 29, 2011):

Humankind is now threatened by the simultaneous implosion, explosion, incineration, courtroom contempt and drowning of its most lethal industry.

We know only two things for certain:  worse is yet to come, and those in charge are lying about it—at least to the extent of what they actually know, which is nowhere near enough.

Indeed, the assurances from the nuke power industry continue to flow like the floodwaters now swamping the Missouri Valley heartland.

But major breakthroughs have come from a Pennsylvania Senator and New York’s Governor on issues of evacuation and shut-down.  And a public campaign for an end to loan guarantees could put an end to the US industry once and for all.

FUKUSHIMA: The bad news continues to bleed from Japan with no end in sight.  The “light at the end of the tunnel” is an out-of-control radioactive freight train, headed to the core of an endangered planet.

Widespread internal radioactive contamination among Japanese citizens around Fukushima has now been confirmed.

Two whales caught some 650 kilometers from the melting reactors have shown intense radiation.

Plutonium, the deadliest substance known to our species, has been found dangerously far from the site.

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Jun 30

UPDATED: Los Alamos Residents Can’t Come Home Saturday (ABQ Journal, June 30, 2011):

11:15 a.m. 6/30/11 –Fire crews in Los Alamos reported that the northern finger of the Las Conchas blaze is extending northward toward the Santa Clara Pueblo, according to a news release from the county.

9:15 a.m. 6/30/11 — LOS ALAMOS (AP) — The Las Conchas Fire, threatening the nation’s premier nuclear weapons laboratory and a community in northern New Mexico, is poised to become the largest fire in state history.

7:40am 6/30/11 (AP) — Fire Crews Busy Thinning Woods Around LANL

This morning in Los Alamos was the eeriest morning yet as smoke settled into the streets and on people’s lawns in the nearly abandoned city, the Albuquerque Journal’s Phil Parker writes from the scene today.

The Las Conchas Fire, which has been burning near Los Alamos since Sunday, has burned nearly 100,000 acres, which would make it the largest wildfire in New Mexico history. There is still only 3 percent containment reported.

5:30am 6/30/11 (AP) — Las Conchas Fire at Nearly 90,000 Acres

The Las Conchas Fire grew to roughly 90,000 acres on Wednesday, advancing northward to the headwaters of Santa Clara Canyon on Santa Clara Pueblo while firefighters improved buffer zones around Los Alamos and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Albuquerque Journal’s Phil Parker reported this morning.

The fire was still being reported late Wednesday as being 3 percent contained, but exactly where some small part of the fire had been reined in was unclear, the Journal said.

More than 1,000 fire personnel have been requested, the paper reported.

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Jun 30

Q&A: Is New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory Really Safe? (TIME, June 29, 2011):

Los Alamos, N.M. is feeling the heat this week as it battles the Las Conchas wildfire that has been raging since Sunday.

Caused by a fallen power line, the blaze — which spans more than 108 miles — has destroyed about 61,000 acres of the Santa Fe National Forest and forced the evacuation of the town of Los Alamos (population 11,000).  Worse, the fire is creeping dangerously close to the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), one of the country’s biggest nuclear research facilities. At risk are 20-30,000 drums of Cold War-era plutonium-contaminated waste that are sitting above ground in fabric tents in Technical Area 54 within the Area G section.

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Jun 28

‘Hoping for the best’: Firefighters battle blaze at edge of Los Alamos nuclear complex (MSNBC, June 28, 2011):

Flames licked at the boundary of the laboratory site, home to the nation’s largest supply of nuclear weapons.

The laboratory was shut down, and the town of Los Alamos, home to about 12,000 people, was placed under a mandatory evacuation Monday afternoon.

However, the facility called in special teams to track readings from a network of 60 monitoring stations that measure levels of substances such as plutonium and uranium in the air “as a precaution,” said lab director Charles McMillan.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, who was visiting evacuees at the Santa Claran Hotel Casino in Espanola, said “there’s no doubt” the lab stores a variety of hazardous and radioactive materials that “you don’t want to escape in the atmosphere.” But he said he was confident lab and state environmental officials had monitoring systems in place to “evaluate exactly what we’re seeing here.”

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Jun 28

See also:

New Mexico Wildfires Force Evacuation At Los Alamos Nuclear Labratory:

Fires have burned as close as one mile from the government lab – threatening buildings, power lines and gas lines, officials said.


Los Alamos lab still under threat from blaze (CBS NEWS, June 28, 2011):

The anti-nuclear watchdog group Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety said the fire appeared to be about 3.5 miles from a dumpsite where as many as 30,000 55-gallon drums of plutonium-contaminated waste were stored in fabric tents above ground. The group said the drums were awaiting transport to a dump site in southern New Mexico.

Lab officials at first declined to confirm that such drums were on the property, but in a statement early Tuesday, lab spokeswoman Lisa Rosendorf said such drums are stored in a section of the complex known as Area G. She said the drums contain cleanup from Cold War-era waste that the lab sends away in weekly shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

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Jun 28

Los Alamos Evacuated; Fire Crews Concentrate on Nuclear Lab (Israel National News, June 28, 2011):

Los Alamos National Laboratory is indelibly etched in historical memory as the hatching site of the Manhattan Project, the effort which created the first atomic bomb. The world’s largest nuclear weapons arsenal is still located there. Now a raging wildfire has forced the evacuation of the surrounding town of Los Alamos (population 12,000)..

Given the recent Japanese disaster at Fukushima, the fear of course is that a natural disaster can morph into a nuclear one. Firefighters are therefore concentrating on keeping the blaze out of the laboratory. “If it spots on the lab, we’ll get really aggressive about putting it out,” Los Alamos Fire Chief Doug Tucker said.

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Jun 28

Related info:

Los Alamos Lab Home To The Nation’s Largest Supply Of Nuclear Weapons Calls In Special Teams To Monitor Levels Of Plutonium And Uranium In The Air As A Precaution

Los Alamos Lab Officials Confirm Drums Of Plutonium-Contaminated Stored Above Ground:

Lab officials at first declined to confirm that such drums were on the property, but in a statement early Tuesday, lab spokeswoman Lisa Rosendorf said such drums are stored in a section of the complex known as Area G.

Probably just a coincidence!!!


Los Alamos evacuated as wildfire nears (UPI, June 28, 2011):

The anti-nuclear watchdog group’s Web site appeared hacked early Tuesday morning, a United Press International check indicated. Its Facebook page had six messages from people alerting the group of the possible hacking, including a message commenting on the timing of the incident happening “just as the fires started.”

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Jun 27


A wildfire looms in the hills above Los Alamos National Labs Sunday.

New Mexico wildfires force evacuation at Los Alamos nuclear labratory (NY Daily News, June 27, 2011):

Raging wildfires in New Mexico forced the evacuation of the famed nuclear lab at Los Alamos Monday, though officials insist that radioactive material is secure.

Fires have burned as close as one mile from the government lab – threatening buildings, power lines and gas lines, officials said.

“Lab emergency crews have been dispatched across the lab to protect key facilities and materials,” said lab spokesman Jeff Berger.

“Protected areas include all hazardous and radioactive facilities and our proton accelerator and super-computing centers.”

About 100 non-essential personnel were cleared from the area around the lab, where the first atomic bomb was built.

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