Nope, that's not a headline from The Onion. POGO has just learned that researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory accidentally blew a building apart a few weeks ago with a massive gun that acts like a Civil War cannon. From our press release:
According to a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Occurrence Report, "Shock and Detonation Physics Group researchers heard a loud unusual noise from Technical Area 15, Building 562 after firing a shot from a large-bore powder gun (LBPG)." The researchers accidentally blew a building apart at Technical Area-15, on December 16, 2009 while testing a gun which acts like a Civil War cannon.
While no one was hurt, sources advise POGO that there was over $3 million in damage to property. The explosion blew the doors off the building -- which is described in the report as, "two doors were propelled off the facility."
The Facility Operations Director "declared a management concern due to the significant facility structural damage incurred resultant of the shot." Parts of the cannon were found outside the building.
"I must say that this is a new twist in the long history of screw-ups by Los Alamos," said POGO's Senior Investigator, Peter Stockton. “I have no idea in the world why they have a gun like this, let alone testing it.”
To learn more about this long history of screw-ups, check out POGO's LANL investigations. Of course, our past investigations have been concerned about security threats to the nuclear labs coming from outsiders.
-- Peter Stockton