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April 4 First News: Expensive LANL Security System Installed (Listen)

A problem-plagued 244-million dollar security system at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s most sensitive area is complete. Reports indicate the advanced security upgrade for the LANL’s plutonium complex was supposed to be done almost two years ago. But as it was nearing completion, major problems sprung-up, resulting in cost-over-runs of 41 million to fix it. The system protects LANL’s Technical Area 55, the only place in the country where nuclear weapon triggers can be made.

The crews investigating a radiation leak from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad hope to make a second trip into the half-mile deep repository today. That word from the Department of Energy, which said workers who went underground Wednesday found no airborne radiation. WIPP has been closed since February’s radiation release and the crews are trying to determine its cause. Today’s mission for the workers is installing an additional radiation monitor to assist in that effort.

The White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico is opening the Trinity Site tomorrow for your only chance this year to visit the location where the first atomic bomb was detonated nearly 70-years ago. The test in 1945 of the culmination of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos led to the weapon’s use against Japan, ending World War Two. Protestors plan to gather at White Sands’ Stallion Gate at nine-a-m, clad in ‘Day of the Dead’ attire for the occasion. They are also raising awareness about the so-called “downwinders,” the people living near Trinity Site who have suffered high rates of cancers and other illnesses since the first detonation. Journalist Dennis Carroll is producing a documentary on their story—a work titled “Forgotten: Trinity’s Downwinders:” *****040414-Downwinder  :33***** Journalist Dennis Carroll.  Recent federal budget cuts have resulted in the Site being open only one day a year.

District 50 State Representative Vickie Perea—the Republican appointed by Governor Martinez to replace Democrat Stephen Easley following his death last year— calls her first session of the legislature a good one, with approval of the state budget the top accomplishment. *****040414-Perea-a  :27*****Perea’s bill stiffening penalties for repeat DWI offenders passed the House, but wasn’t heard in the Senate. Her bill to change from misdemeanor to felony for conviction of child enticement died in a Senate Committee. Perea is running for re-election with no Republican primary opponent.

A Santa Fe man has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than 42-thousand dollars from a New Mexico tribe over an eight-month period. Prosecutors say 60-year-old Ramiro Flores entered into a plea agreement this week. They say Flores will be required to pay restitution to the San Ildefonso Pueblo in an amount to be determined by the court. He was also sentenced to probation. Flores was indicted last October on six counts of embezzlement.

Santa Fe Weather: Mostly sunny today, with a high near 54. Mostly cloudy tonight, with the low around freezing. Tomorrow, expect a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms and a high of 52.