Culture&Arts

US Nuke Test Films Published On Youtube

US Nuke Test Films Published On Youtube

From the deserts of southern New Mexico and Nevada to islands in the Pacific Ocean, the US government conducted dozens of nuclear weapons tests from the 1940s until the early 1960s. Earlier this week, the first set of restored films was released on YouTube.

From 1945 to 1962, the U.S. government conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests in the Nevada desert and isolated islands in the Pacific, many of which were filmed by multiple high-speed cameras which captured each event at around 2,400 frames per second. Each test was captured with multiple cameras at 2,400 frames per second from various angles.

Spriggs and his team of experts at the LLNL tracked down the nuclear test films, which had been locked up in high-security vaults across the United States. Some are in black and white, some are in color, and all of them bear the unusual names of top secret missions: Operation Hardtack, Operation Plumbbob, Operation Teapot.

Of the 10,000 or so films that are thought to have been made over the testing period, Spriggs and his team have located about 6,500 of them. Some smelled of vinegar, indicating the decomposition process was underway and any more time would have left the material useless.

Much of the footage will make viewers run for cover as they see chilling reminders of the arms race for military superiority during the Cold War. So this is it. Scientists can now use the data from the films to make sure aging USA nuclear deterrents stay safe and efficient without further nuclear tests.

"We don't have any experimental data for modern weapons in the atmosphere", Spriggs says in a video about the project. "The only data that we have are the old tests", he said, noting that the manual methods used in the 1950s to analyze the blasts weren't that accurate.

It will take two more years to digitize the remaining films. Spriggs expressed the hope that the footage will stop nations from ever using the nuclear arsenal option.

"I think that if we capture the history of this and show what the force of these weapons are and how much devastation they can wreak, then maybe people will be reluctant to use them".

The public can now watch some of these declassified films on the LLNL's YouTube playlist.


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