Skip to Main Content
Project on Government Oversight




Los Alamos National Laboratory Researchers Accidentally Blow up Building with a Cannon

December 23, 2009 


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.” 

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

# # #