On Thursday, August 25th firefighters were struggling to contain a growing twenty eight thousand acre wildfire which was raging near nuclear fuel that was spent that is stored at a United States Energy Department Lab located in eastern Idaho in the desert.
At this time, it is the United States largest wildfire that is active. With the intensity and growth of this wildfire the Idaho National Laboratory was prompted to order evacuation of all personnel that was not needed to run the facility. There are approximately six thousand people employed at the complex. The Materials and Fuels Complex is an eight hundred ninety mile site located about thirty eight miles from Idaho Falls.
The complex consists of buildings for processing, examining, and handling nuclear fuel that is spent, radioactive wastes, and irradiated materials. This work is performed by technicians who use remotely operated equipment and tools that are inside chambers which are shielded. This is done to contain radiation and contamination.
In addition to fire crews who are taking preventative measures to make sure that the buildings are safe, the complex also has a buffer of sand or gravel. At this present time the general public does not have to worry about any type of radioactive hazard. Early on Thursday fifty firefighters put all their effort in protecting a facility that was separate from the rest of the complex in which nuclear rods were stored.
Although the firefighters are battling the fire from various points, the changing winds are making it difficult to contain it. It is not known precisely the distance that is between the point of the wildfire and the different buildingson the complex. There are also 3 reactors that are working on the complex grounds.