Los Alamos braces for impact of possible lab shutdown

Posted at: 10/15/2013 9:09 AM
Updated at: 10/15/2013 9:43 AM
By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com

LANL is scheduled to close on Oct. 18 due to the government shutdown.
LANL is scheduled to close on Oct. 18 due to the government shutdown.
Photo: Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory employees won't be the only ones impacted by the lab's possible shutdown at the end of this week. The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce says every aspect of the business community will be affected.

Lab officials announced last week that operations would halt on Friday, Oct. 18 and furloughs would begin the following Monday if the government budget impasse continued.

Chamber of Commerce member Katy Korkoslla said everyone from restaurants to retail and doctors to dentists will be hurt if LANL employees and contractors spend less money in the city.

"I see it as potential for a major failure. Our county government relies on gross receipts taxes, which they receive from the operations of Los Alamos National Lab," she said. "I don't see any part of our economy benefiting from the shutdown."

If LANL shuts down, some safety and security operations will continue, but it's not clear how many of the lab's more than 10,000 employees would remain working.

Furloughs for employees of Sandia National Laboratories are also expected to begin on Oct. 21 unless lawmakers reach a deal to reopen the government and avoid U.S. debt default.