So, who are we to believe? According to a number of news sources, LANL staffers accidentally blew up part of a building with a "gun which acts like a Civil War Cannon" last week. Here's one report:
Here's another, from Frank Munger's Atomic City Underground blog:
But then we learn that LANL/NNSA has already "Roarked" the story. Wired reports that they've received an email from National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman Damien LaVera which implies that what we've first heard might not be the exact story:
Here are the facts: On December 16, Los Alamos conducted a standard proof test on a new design for a catch tank in the target chamber for one of our large bore powder guns (LBPG). These types of experiments are routine and responsible. The LBPG is used to conduct measurements of material properties at pressures needed for understanding nuclear weapons performance. During this particular test, unexpected explosive damage occurred and, because that damage could result in $1 million in damages, an investigation was automatically triggered. That investigation will seek to identify the cause of the incident and any changes in procedures that might be required. NNSA, Los Alamos, and all of our facilities take their commitment to safety very seriously. It is important to note that no personnel were injured from this event, no hazardous or radioactive materials were involved, and that lab's incident response mechanisms appear to have performed as intended.
Which version is the Real Story? We'll ponder this over the holidays.