Unknown: Effect of Huge Fire on Los Alamos Lab

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Los Alamos, New Mexico - Los Alamos nuclear laboratory officials say it could be a few days before they'll know the extent of how experiments at the facility that created the first atomic bomb have been affected by a shutdown caused by a 125-square mile wildfire.

The lab has been shut down since Monday, when all of the city of Los Alamos and some of its surrounding areas,12,000 people in all, was evacuated.

There was no word on when it will reopen, but it was expected to remain idle at least through Friday.

Officials said the Los Alamos National Laboratory has some 10,000 experiments running at the same time that have been put on hold.

Among the work delayed are experiments run on two supercomputers, the Roadrunner and Cielo.

The National Security Administration's three national laboratories--Los Alamos, Sandia, and Lawrence Livermore--all share computing time on Cielo, which is among the world's fastest computers.

Also delayed is work on projects ranging from extending the life of 1960s era B61 nuclear bombs to studies on how climate change affects ocean currents.

Fire officials late Wednesday said they're confident that the fire won't spread onto the lab and the town of Los Alamos.

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