Fire raises ques­tions about Los Alamos lab

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION -

A re­cent fire has put a na­tional lab­o­ra­tory’s abil­ity to op­er­ate safely into ques­tion.

The De­fense Nu­clear Fa­cil­i­ties Safety Board an­nounced Fri­day that it will hold a hear­ing next month to dis­cuss the fu­ture of the Los Alamos Na­tional Lab­o­ra­tory, the Santa Fe New Mex­i­can re­ported. The board is an in­de­pen­dent panel that ad­vises the U.S. Depart­ment of En­ergy and the pres­i­dent.

A fire broke mid-April at the lab’s PF-4 plu­to­nium build­ing, where the plu­to­nium cores of nu­clear weapons are pro­duced. Lab of­fi­cials said that the fire was put out quickly and caused only mi­nor in­juries.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the board is un­sure whether the lab is fit to con­tinue to op­er­ate and han­dle in­creas­ing quan­ti­ties of plu­to­nium in com­ing years af­ter a se­ries of prob­lems with man­age­ment in main­te­nance and cleanup.

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