- The Washington Times - Friday, January 21, 2005

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — One of the nation’s leading nuclear weapons laboratories is ready to resume normal operations after security and safety lapses last summer forced a shutdown of hazardous, high-risk operations at the lab.

Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Pete Nanos told employees this week it should “look like a normal day” at the lab by Jan. 31, with “productive work proceeding without impediment.”

“I’m not going to give up the progress we made,” he said. “It’s been a long six months, and we’ve all paid the price in one way or another.”

Los Alamos shut down nearly all its divisions for review after two computer disks believed to contain classified information were reported missing and an intern sustained an eye injury from a laser.

Nearly all of the lab’s nonhazardous projects were restarted soon afterward, but some high-risk operations — mostly involving weapons work — have had to wait.

The lab identified about 3,000 issues that needed to be improved, including better training, a new way to store and track computer disks containing top-secret information, and a safety program under which individuals take responsibility for their actions, according to lab spokesman Kevin Roark.

Mr. Nanos insisted the lab wants “a continually improving state where we don’t slip backward.”

“This will be a tough year, but I feel that fundamentally we are moving in the right direction and laying the groundwork to ensure this institution’s future,” he said.

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