Oil leak causes $US1.7 million in damage to Los Alamos lasersgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Oil leak causes $US1.7 million in damage to Los Alamos lasers
Source: AP|Published: Saturday January 27, 12:41 PM
LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico - Lasers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory were damaged when 5,700 gallons (25,912 litres) of mineral oil leaked into the room where the lasers were housed, lab officials said today.
The damage was estimated at $US1.7 million ($A3.15 million). Officials are still trying to determine whether the lasers can be repaired or are ruined.
The ultrapure mineral oil leaked from a 12,000-gallon (54,553-litre) tank over a weekend earlier this month, lab spokesman Todd Hanson said.
The oil is used to test equipment for the lab's Atlas pulse power facility that performs high-energy density experiments in support of weapons physics and basic research. That facility was not damaged.
A special barrier around the doors of the room stops any leaks. But when the weekend the accident occurred, the oil flooded up to the barrier and seeped through the floor, Hanson said.
The mineral oil drenched a laser lab in the basement, damaging seven high-speed lasers, various microscopes and tables, said Al Stotts, a spokesman for the Department of Energy's Albuquerque office.
The ultrafast lasers are used in unclassified work to build better lasers, lab spokesman Kevin Roark said.
The preliminary investigation blamed gaskets on the oil tank for the leak, Stotts said. He said the DOE investigation is continuing.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), January 27, 2001