Environmental and peace activists are claiming a pair of preliminary victories in a battle over bringing Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) labs to the nation's top nuclear weapons research facilities in Los Alamos, N.Mex., and Livermore, Calif. The two facilities would be the first built for US Department of Energy labs; about 250 BSL-3 facilities exist nationwide.

First, a San Francisco federal district judge issued a stay on December 15 preventing operations from commencing at both of the two planned BSL-3 laboratories until at least May 15. Then, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) officials announced on January 23 that they plan to repeat environmental analyses for the Los Alamos facility because of “new circumstances and information that were not considered in the original” assessment.

Even though laboratory officials said the December 15 stay would have no impact on the scheduled openings—planned for early summer at Los Alamos and by...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?