Saturday 19 August 2017

US carries out radiation tests on wildfire site

A helicopter over the fires near Los Alamos. US government scientists are sampling the air for contamination
A helicopter over the fires near Los Alamos. US government scientists are sampling the air for contamination
A helicopter over the fires near Los Alamos. US government scientists are sampling the air for contamination

P. Solomon Banda in Los Alamos

THE US government yesterday dispatched a plane equipped with radiation monitors over the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory as a 110-square-mile wildfire burned. The inferno has put thousands of scientific experiments on hold.

Lab authorities described the monitoring as a precaution.

Managers at the nuclear laboratory that created the first atomic bomb said that it was too early to say how experiments have been affected by a shutdown at the plant.

There has been growing concerns about the blaze which is now close to a dump where more than 20,000 barrels of of plutonium-contaminated waste are stored.

The lab has been shut down since Monday, when the town of Los Alamos and its surrounding areas -- some 12,000 people -- was evacuated.

The lab authorities and outside experts on nuclear engineering expressed confidence that the blaze would not scatter radioactive material.

Irish Independent

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