Home > Environment > US wildfire near major nuclear arms lab

US wildfire near major nuclear arms lab

Wed, 29 Jun 2011 02:13:49 GMT

The New Mexico wildfire that has so far scorched more than 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres) of land in the southwestern US state, is approaching the major Los Alamos nuclear facility north of the state.

About 13,000 Residents of Los Alamos, a town just outside the laboratory, were evacuated on Monday after the wildfire crossed the nearby Jemez Mountains, the Los Alamos County fire authorities said.

“We’re doing our best to keep it off the lab,” said the county’s fire chief, quoted by state-run BBC on Tuesday.

Los Alamos, one of the top nuclear weapons research facilities in the US, will remain closed until Thursday, as fire fighters struggle to keep the wildfire from approaching its boundary.

Meanwhile, officials at the New Mexico facility announced that the laboratory faced “no immediate threat.”

“No facilities face immediate threat, and all nuclear and hazardous materials are accounted for and protected,” officials said in a statement.

However, Deputy Los Alamos County Fire Chief Mike Thompson warned about damages inflicted on local homes.

“That’s the biggest threat we have right now to homes in the community,” Thompson said.

The fire is at least 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the facility’s Area G, where radioactive waste tanks are stored.

Huge wildfires have charred millions of acres of land in southwestern US states of New Mexico, Arizona and Texas this year.

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Categories: Environment
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