DemocracyNow.org - In New Mexico, an out-of-control wildfire that began Sunday has already burned nearly 80-square miles and is a mile or less from Los Alamos National Laboratory, home to a nuclear weapons plutonium facility. Pieces of ash from the fire have dropped onto the laboratory grounds, sparking "spot" fires. A senior investigator with the Project on Government Oversight said a fire at the facility would be a "disaster" that could result in large and lethal releases of radiation. Officials insist explosive materials on the laboratory's grounds are safely stored in underground bunkers made of concrete and steel. But the group, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, told the Associated Press that the fire appeared to be about 3.5 miles from a dumpsite where as many as 30,000 55-gallon drums of plutonium-contaminated waste were stored in fabric tents above ground. The group said the drums were awaiting transport to a low-level radiation dump site in southern New Mexico. Democracy Now! interviews Greg Mello, the director of the Los Alamos Study Group, a citizen-led nuclear disarmament group based in New Mexico. "Los Alamos National Laboratory is becoming the center of plutonium manufacturing for the country," Mello says, even though "it is a place with a lot of natural hazards, not just fires, but also earthquakes."
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