Saturday, September 24, 2011

Idaho fire prompts evacuation of nuclear facilities

Saturday, September 24, 2011
By Laura Zuckerman

Salmon, Idaho (Reuters) - firefighters fought on Thursday a fast-growing 28,000-acre wildfire rages in several miles of spent nuclear fuel in a US Department of energy lab in the stored to control high desert of Eastern Idaho.

The growth and the intensity of the blaze, the nationwide largest active wildfire, who order Idaho National Laboratory asked a key facility at the site of 890 square mile of all unnecessary persons evacuated, lab officials said.

The materials and fuels complex, about 38 km from Idaho Falls consists of facilities for the examination, treatment and processing spent nuclear fuel and irradiated materials, radioactive waste, according to the lab Web site.

Technician lead this work with remotely operated tools and equipment within shielded Chambers contamination and radiation contain.

Fire crews took preventive measures, to protect the plant building, also by buffer zones of gravel or sand, lab spokesman said Ethan Huffman are surrounded.

A statement late Thursday the laboratory, which employs around 6,000 employees, contractors, including added: "There is no known radiological threat to the public at this time."

Earlier in the day, nearly 50 firefighters from the laboratory and the US Bureau of land concentrated their efforts on a separate facility in the spent nuclear rods, according to the laboratory are stored to protect management.

Additional radioactive rods cooled in storage ponds further South at a site called the Idaho nuclear technology and Engineering Center remain unchanged.

The Centre of workers "Protection have made on the site as a precaution," said the lab in a late update without further explanation.

"they (the fire) from all directions at the moment;" fighting winds dominate every minute "Lab spokeswoman Sara Prentice said Thursday afternoon."

The exact distance between the top of is rapidly spreading blaze and different facilities on site laboratory, which contains three working reactors, Thursday night was not known exactly, lab officials said.

But flames in several miles sites where abgebrannter fuel, including the materials and fuels complex and kept the so-called naval reactors facility is to achieve.


Thursdays Incendio came three days after crews a previous fire deleted by ARTEMISIA and meadows on the northwestern edge of the property burned.

, Said this brand of a vehicle with a tyre blown a highway in the vicinity of laboratory was thrown drag Government officials his metal edge along the roadway.

The cause of the new fire was examined. It is one of five forest fires which broke out Thursday between lightning, high temperatures and strong winds in Eastern Idaho.

Fires have charred tens of thousands of acres in Idaho and in the Northern Rockies in recent days, including parts of Montana, Yellowstone National Park and Northwestern Wyoming.

The national weather service on Thursday still fire warnings for the region due to the rising temperatures, dwindling moisture and forecasted storm with wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour increased.

Windy, hot, a separate fire was dry conditions also difficulties on Thursday for the 170 firefighters assigned to flaming control in forested high country of the Eastern Idaho and Western Montana.

The saddle burnt complex blaze, the 21.100 acres in Idaho of salmon Challis national forest and the Bitterroot National forest, Montana, burned the bosses with such intensity and in such rugged terrain, triggered as it insecure, to launch an attack with the exception of air.

"These are not the kind of conditions, insert the people," Bob MacGregor said US Forest Service spokesman.

Ground crews worked Thursday protect 30 isolated houses and perimeter in advance of the flames coming.

Authorities in Montana, said residents of the 50 houses West of Darby to prepare for evacuation and smoke in the Bitterroot Valley called upon to advise health authorities, small children and people with respiratory, heart problems, inside to stay.

(Edit Johnston by Steve Gorman, Jerry Norton, and Cynthia)

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