Los Alamos Sets Up
Emergency Environmental
Assessment Team
By Lawrence Spohn - Scripps Howard News Service

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. - Los Alamos National Laboratory Monday announced it is setting up an emergency environmental SWAT team to assess the potential hazards that runoff and erosion might have on chemical and radioactive hazards on lab property.
Lab Director John Browne said those environmental concerns must be addressed sooner rather than later.
"If something is there, and it's moving, we need to take some mitigation measures," he said. "If it's not moving, we need to show it's not moving so the public can be reassured."
Browne said he and his staff will work with pueblos near the lab to assure them the fire has not taken contaminants off lab property.
Browne said he has already been offered additional expert assistance from the University of California and the U.S. Forest Service's "Bear Team," which has expertise in minimizing pollution from fire sites.
Browne said some areas of burned lab property have soot a foot thick.
He said the biggest environmental concern the lab had, a plutonium waste-disposal site called Technical Area 54, sustained no damage.
Browne said he conferred with Sen. Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican who is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, about an emergency appropriation from Congress to help the lab deal with all aspects of the fire.
(Contact Lawrence Spohn of The Tribune in Albuquerque, N.M., at


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