(Adds dropped word "a" in first paragraph)
* No radioactive material involved
* Welder's torch started fire on building roof
SALMON, Idaho, April 16 A welder's torch ignited
a small fire on the roof of a building at a nuclear research
laboratory in Idaho on Monday, prompting an evacuation, but no
one was hurt and no radioactive material was involved, lab
Nearly 100 employees were cleared from the building, part of
a complex that includes facilities housing spent nuclear fuel
and radioactive waste at the Idaho National Laboratory, the U.S.
Energy Department's leading facility for nuclear reactor
The fire damaged 4 square feet (0.4 square meter) of the
roof and was extinguished about 2-1/2 hours after smoke was
first detected, the lab said in a statement.
No radioactive material was affected or involved in the
fire, and there was no release of radiation, the lab said.
The complex of buildings where the fire erupted sits near
the edge of the sprawling 890-square-mile lab site in the high
desert of eastern Idaho, about 38 miles (6 1 km) fr om the city of
In November 2011, 16 Idaho lab workers in an adjacent
building were exposed to radiation during an accident that
occurred while they were preparing to remove an old plutonium
fuel cell from a decommissioned reactor.
The building whose roof caught fire on Monday houses
research laboratories but no spent fuel or radioactive waste,
lab spokeswoman Misty Benjamin told Reuters.
Several thousand employees and contractors work at the Idaho
National Laboratory, the U.S. Energy Department's leading
facility for nuclear reactor technology.
(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing
by Dan Burns, Eric Walsh and Lisa Shumaker)