Idaho nuclear research site shuts down some operations because of wildfire

Article By Phil Helsel
Photo By Bureau of Land Management via AP

A brush fire that has burned about 90,000 acres in Idaho has curtailed much of the staff at one of the nation’s leading nuclear research facilities, officials said Tuesday.

No injuries have been reported, and there has been no damage or threats to buildings at the Idaho National Laboratory since the fire was sparked in grassland near the center about 6:30 p.m. Monday.

“The public has not been threatened at all,” Juan Alvarez, chief operations officer for the national lab, said at a news conference Tuesday.

“Fires this time of the year is something that we expect and prepare for,” he said.

Routine radiological monitoring at the site has remained consistent with normal levels, the laboratory said in an update on its websiteTuesday night.

The fire has burned desert near the center of the 890-square mile property, the Associated Press reported.

All of the facilities at the national lab have security fencing with a built-in fire break for protection in “just this kind of a situation,” said Joseph Campbell, public information director for emergency operations center at the lab.

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