- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
NM fire poised to be largest in state history
Question of the Day
The lab also works on such topics as renewable energy and particle physics, solar flares, forensics on terrorist attacks, and studying the AIDS virus at the molecular level to help scientists develop strategies for developing vaccines.
On Monday, about an acre of lab property burned, raising concerns about possible contamination from material stored or buried on lab grounds. As a precaution, the government sent a plane equipped with radiation monitors over the lab. Samples analyzed so far from some of the lab’s monitors show nothing abnormal in the smoke.
Lab authorities described the monitoring from the air as a precaution, and they, along with outside experts on nuclear engineering, expressed confidence that the blaze would not scatter radioactive material, as some in surrounding communities feared.
“The nuclear materials are secure,” said Penn State University nuclear engineering professor Barry Scheetz, who has served on National Academy of Sciences nuclear review boards and has been to Los Alamos several times. “There’s multiple redundancy in the protection of this material.”
Anti-nuclear groups have sounded the alarm about thousands of 55-gallon drums containing low-grade nuclear waste _ gloves, tools, even paper notes and other contaminated items _ about two miles from the fire.
Lab officials said it was highly unlikely the blaze would reach the drums, and that the steel containers can in any case withstand flames and will be sprayed with fire-resistant foam if necessary.
Meanwhile, the economic impact of shutting down the town was already weighing on the minds of Los Alamos officials and business owners.
The lab’s employees account for up to 90 percent of the town’s commerce, said Kevin Holsapple, executive director of the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, as well as the local economic development group.
Holsapple did not have an estimate on what the impact would be from the latest fire.
Following a major wildfire in May 2000, the federal government paid out tens of millions to hundreds of businesses to compensate for financial and property loss.
“Lightning is not supposed to strike twice in one place,” Holsapple said of the second town evacuation in a little over 11 years. “Their preparation in general is better that you would find because of people’s experience with this kind of thing.”
This time around, that federal government help isn’t available.
Gov. Susana Martinez said the state is helping by delaying collection of sales taxes from business affected by the fire.
Other measures being offered to Los Alamos businesses by Holsapple’s groups include making interest payments for business loans, as well as support to help business restart.
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- House backs faster deportations, cancels 'Dreamer' policy
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- HATCH: Destroying the Senate and our liberties
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors