Los Alamos National Laboratory must begin the process of shutting down its sprawling 36 square miles of nuclear facilities and office buildings Tuesday in order to meet a Friday, Oct. 18 deadline, lab director Charles McMillan said in an all-staff memo distributed today.
The National Nuclear Security Administration earlier this week order its contractors to be prepared to shutter operations by Oct. 21, but Los Alamos is starting the process early because of the lead time needed to put its complex facilities in a safe standby mode.
Some 600 of the lab’s more than 10,000 workers will stay on the job to secure its nuclear materials and provide other services deemed essential.
Much of McMillan’s staff memo was devoted to the economic uncertainties posed by the shutdown, but he made it clear that furloughs, beginning Oct. 21 if necessary, will be unpaid. The only exception, he said in the memo, is the possible of using vacation time. “Employees with adequate vacation balances will be able to record vacation on timecards for the weeks starting October 21 and October 28 if they wish,” McMillan said.
We’ll have more in tomorrow’s newspaper.