LANL preps to re-open Wednesday

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Los Alamos National Laboratory has announced it will re-open to employees on Wednesday, July 6, 2011, after being closed for more than a week during the Las Conchas fire, the largest wildfire in New Mexico history.

Laboratory Director Charles McMillan today issued a memo to Laboratory employees outlining the re-opening plan.

“Los Alamos National Laboratory appears to have escaped serious damage from the Las Conchas fire,” McMillan said in the memo. “We are grateful for the tremendous efforts of emergency responders that helped spare the Lab and the town of Los Alamos. I wish to extend my deepest thanks to everyone who has helped so far, including all Lab employees who have patiently persevered during this emergency. However, as we begin preparations to re-open the Laboratory, we must remain cognizant of the fact that many members of our workforce may still be affected by this emergency while the Las Conchas fire continues to threaten other communities in the region.”

The Laboratory’s post-fire-danger recovery plan was carefully coordinated with Los Alamos County to ensure that the community of Los Alamos is fully habitable before the Laboratory opening. McMillan stated on Saturday that he expected it to take two full days before employees could be fully integrated back into their workplaces after the community was re-opened to evacuees.

Prior to employees reporting to work on Wednesday, Laboratory facility personnel are checking all of the more than 2,000 buildings located across the Laboratory’s 36-square-mile campus to ensure that all employee workplaces are safe for occupancy.

On Tuesday, a team of Laboratory managers will assess work areas and begin to prioritize issues that will facilitate an efficient return to normal operations. Only after the safety assessments and prioritizations have occurred will employees be allowed back to work.

Director McMillan urged employees to adopt an attitude of flexibility and tolerance when they return to work because not every facility is expected to be fully functional during the first several days of the re-opening period. In addition, because not every member of the workforce will be able to return to work immediately because of possible issues related to the Las Conchas fire or other personal concerns, employees should be supportive and understanding of the needs of their colleagues, McMillan added.

Employees who need additional time before reporting to work should speak to their managers once the Laboratory has re-opened on Wednesday. McMillan was emphatic that employees should not return to work before Wednesday unless specifically instructed to do so by managers. The orderly, phased approach to re-opening outlined in the Laboratory’s recovery plan will ensure that every Laboratory work area is safe and secure. Early arrival by employees could disrupt or delay re-opening.

Employees can get more information about the recovery memo and other concerns on the LANL homepage (www.lanl.gov), or by calling the Update Hotline at 505-667-