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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