Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) weapon physicist Greg Spriggs, declassified U.S. nuclear atmospheric testing. The recent findings revealed the United States government have conducted over 200 nuclear tests between 1945 to 1962. With the footage of tests starting to decompose, Spriggs made an effort to salvage the videos.
The U.S. nuclear atmospheric testing took place at the peak of the Cold War
The U.S. government conduct the nuclear tests high up in the atmosphere to see the power of nuclear weapons. The 1950s film showed the terrifying explosions in every angle and distance. There are an estimated 10,000 videos of the nuclear tests. The officials at the time stored the videos in high-security vaults around the country.
After a half of the century had passed, the U.S. government scanned 4,200 of the films and declassified 750 of it. Spriggs uploaded 64 videos on Youtube. Some footage is in color while others are in black and white. The titles of the secret missions were whimsical like Operation Plumbbob, Operation Teapot, and Operation Hardtack.
The footage dated at the highest point of the Cold War. It was at the time when the wars or arms race was at its fiercest rage. Spriggs uploaded the videos on Youtube in an attempt to save the footage that is rotting in the high-security vaults. Spriggs stated,“The data that we’re collecting now must be preserved in a digital form because no matter how well you treat the films, no matter how well you preserve or store them, they will decompose.”
Moreover, the physicist hopes to salvage the films, analyze them and squeeze every bit of information he could get from it. As a matter of fact, there is still naivety even in the experts’ field regarding the effects of high-altitude nuclear blasts. Currently, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty prohibits any nuclear weapon testing. Spriggs desires to help his fellow nuclear weapon physicist to learn more about the nuclear explosions.
The U.S. nuclear atmospheric testing released a high amount of radiation in the air
As of the moment, the organization located 6,500 out of the 10,000 films of the nuclear tests. Several cameras shot the first release of the videos. The camera shot around 2,400 frames per second. In 1957, one of the clips revealed that the U.S. government conducted Operation Plumbob over the Nevada desert. The test released a huge amount of radiation into the air. This raised concerns over its effect on the nearby local population.
Spriggs found the huge amount of released energy as unbelievable. In conclusion, the weapon physicist desires that there will never be a time when people have to use a nuclear weapon again. He stated, “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.”