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Crews begin preventative burns near US nuclear lab
by Staff Writers
Los Angeles (AFP) June 29, 2011

Fire crews in Los Alamos, New Mexico, began targeted burns Wednesday along the western edge of a major US nuclear laboratory to remove fuels as a massive wildfire raged nearby.

Los Alamos National Laboratory will be closed Wednesday and Thursday "because of risks presented by the Las Conchas Fire and the mandatory evacuation of Los Alamos town site," the laboratory announced on its website.

About 350 firefighters, five helicopters and 12 trucks are battling the flames across 69,000 acres (27,920 hectares) of wildfire. So far, firefighters have contained three percent of the blaze, according to New Mexico authorities.

"Observers may notice increased smoke coming from the LANL border. At this time, there is no wildfire on laboratory property," the nuclear lab's website read.

Some 11,800 employees work at the historic lab, where the atomic bomb was developed during World War II.

Thousands of people have been forced from their homes in the Los Alamos area and 12 homes have burned, according to the fire department.

On Tuesday, LANL director Charles McMillan said that all nuclear and hazardous materials were out of danger.

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US nuclear material safe despite wildfire: officials
Los Angeles (AFP) June 28, 2011
Radioactive material stored at the top US nuclear laboratory is safe despite a threatening wildfire which has closed the Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) until Wednesday and forced thousands to evacuate, officials said. "All nuclear and hazardous materials, including those at the lab's principal waste storage site known as Area G, are accounted for and protected," authorities said Tuesday on t ... read more

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