New Mexico's Los Alamos National Laboratory is set to reopen on Wednesday as firefighters successfully tamed a blaze that threatened to engulf stocks of nuclear materials and waste stored at the renowned research facility.
Los Alamos National Laboratory appears to have escaped serious damage from the Las Conchas fire, Facility Director Charles McMillan wrote in a memo to staff. We are grateful for the tremendous efforts of emergency responders that helped spare the lab and the town of Los Alamos.
In recent days firefighters cleared brush that could have led the fire towards hazardous materials stored at Los Alamos, including some 20,000 barrels of plutonium-contaminated waste. Now a preeminent research facility, the laboratory was also the birthplace of the atomic bomb.
The Los Conchas fire, which was started by a downed power line, became at its peak the largest in the state's history. As of Monday night, the Los Alamos Monitor reported that the fire was 27 percent contained.