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Los Alamos National Laboratory has fired four workers and another employee is to resign over a security scandal that resulted in the top secret lab suspending classified work.

The fired workers were among 23 suspended in July after two disks containing classified information went missing and an intern was injured in an accident with a laser. Three of the workers will leave over the disc debacle, while two have been shown the door over breaches in health and safety procedures that led to the laser incidentt.

Ten of the other 18 suspended workers have been cleared of any wrongdoing, while seven have been demoted and one remains on investigatory leave. Pete Nanos, Los Alamos National Laboratory director, told AP that the Lab had finished its investigation into the missing disks but the result of this long running probe remains shrouded in secrecy. In a message to staff (Word file), Nanos said that the Lab needed to improve its performance in all areas if it is to "regain the nation's trust and confidence".

The disciplinary action is being presented by management as a further step in moving the lab towards the long-awaited resumption of its regular activities. A virtual shutdown has affected roughly 12,000 workers, AP reports. ®

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