LOS ALAMOS, N.M. —A secret tunnel recently revealed underneath Los Alamos has an important national security mission.


Built into the side of the mountain, almost 250 feet deep into the rock, are five vaults of historical significance.


The heavily guarded chamber was the first place the U.S. stored nuclear waste materials during the Cold War.


"It's weapons-grade nuclear material," Los Alamos National Lab buildings historian Ellen McGhee said. "(It's) definitely secure, very safe and very stable down here."


Because the lab didn't want the materials to fall into the wrong hands, the facility was a secret for decades. It's one of those places everyone knew not to ask questions about.


"There were alarms, and there were guards stationed outside," McGhee said.


But now the facility is declassified. The tunnel is not open to the public, only special organized tours are allowed.


Lab officials aren't sure what will become of the tunnel in the future. It could have a functional use again or remain a historical site.




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