ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An audit says one of the nation’s premier nuclear laboratories isn't taking the necessary precautions to guard against wildfires.
The finding by the U.S. Energy Department's inspector general comes as wildfire risks intensify across the drought-stricken U.S. West.
Los Alamos National Laboratory is the birthplace of the atomic bomb and has experienced hundreds of millions of dollars in losses and damage from previous wildfires. That includes one that threatened a stash of radioactive waste stored on lab property in 2000.
Watchdog groups say the federal government needs to take note of the audit's findings and do a comprehensive review before the lab ramps up production of key plutonium parts used in the nation's nuclear arsenal.