Berkeley Council to vote on demolitIon work

July 22, 2008 1:05:43 PM PDT
The Berkeley City Council will vote tonight on a resolution that would ask the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to prepare a more detailed environmental report before it demolishes the lab's particle accelerator, which is called the Bevatron.

The Bevatron is a large, 54-year-old machine used for particle physics research.

But it's been made obsolete by bigger and better machines and has been dormant since 1993.

The demolition project could start as soon as next month and is expected to continue through October 2011, according to a letter that lab spokesman Don Medley sent to the Berkeley City Council.

City Councilman Max Anderson wants his colleagues to vote to ask City Manager Phil Kamlarz to send a letter to lab and U.S. Department of Energy officials asking them to prepare an environmental impact statement before the work begins.

The Department of Energy issued an environmental assessment for the project on April 3, but Anderson said the assessment is only "cursory" and appears to be "a working document without any final detail or schedule regarding the timing and order of the demolition of the various components of the facility."

Anderson, in a letter to his City Council colleagues, said, "It is critical that the Department of Energy responds to the enclosed 25 questions prior to the beginning of any demolition."

But Medley said today that the lab has already answered most of the questions raised by Anderson.

Medley said the lab is asking that the City Council oppose Anderson's proposed resolution because the demolition project will be conducted in accordance with all applicable state and federal regulations.

In his letter to the council, Medley said, "The safety of the community and Berkeley Lab employees and protection of the environment are our highest priorities."

The City Council's meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the council's chambers at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.


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