Los Alamos nuclear lab threatened by raging wildfire

15:02, June 29, 2011      

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A wildfire in New Mexico, the United States, has advanced nearer to the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory, the birthplace of the world's first atomic bomb, as firefighters stepped up efforts to protect the site, and monitor any signs of possible radiation.

Officials at the lab have assured to nearby residents that dangerous materials were safely stored, and they are capable of withstanding flames from the 95-square-mile fire, according to The Associated Press.

A small patch of land at the laboratory caught fire on Monday before firefighters quickly put it out. Teams were on alert to pounce on any new blazes and spent the day removing brush and low-hanging tree limbs from the lab's perimeter.

"We are throwing absolutely everything at this that we got," Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico said in Los Alamos.

The fire has forced the evacuation of the entire city of Los Alamos, population 11,000, cast giant plumes of smoke over the region and raised fears among nuclear watchdogs that it will reach as many as 30,000 55-gallon drums of plutonium-contaminated waste.

By People's Daily Online
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