LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (KRQE) - All work at the Los Alamos National Lab's main plutonium facility has been stopped.
The stop comes after a pair of government safety reports.
One calls attention to potential structural weaknesses that could become problems during natural disasters and another concerns safety procedures.
Lab Director Charlie McMillan made the decision late last week.
It is unclear how long the pause in work operations will last, but some parts of LANL's main plutonium facility could be shut down for weeks.
The facility is known as "PF-4".
A report from the defense nuclear facilities safety board sparked the closure, after board staff witnessed items that were not being stored according to normal policies and procedures back in May.
That prompted a review of procedures on the part of LANL managers and employees which ultimately led to the suspension of operations.
"If it deals with nuclear material and it's happening at pf4, right now it's paused," LANL spokesperson, Fred DeSousa said. "And once the director has verified that the operations can be safely resumed and reliably done he'll allow the operations to resume."
The decision to halt operations has nothing to do with this recent report from the U.S. Department of Energy, which mentions concerns with the PF-4 facility's ability to withstand natural disasters, especially earthquakes.
LANL says the work is ongoing to address those concerns including strengthening the facility's overall structure.
According to LANL, the pause in operations will have no significant impact on the lab's ability to meet its national security missions.
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