A trove of 750 nuclear test films were declassified Tuesday, with a number making their way onto YouTube. The news was first broken by the Atlantic’s Sarah Zhang. The films were uploaded to the account of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, with an accompanying three-minute explainer video. According to Greg Spriggs, a physicist from the lab, the original videos were becoming dangerously degraded. “We got to this project just in time,” he said. “We know that these films are on the brink of decomposing to the point where they become useless.” During the Cold War era of mutually assured destruction, the United States tested more than 1,000 nuclear weapons. The blasts took place in the atmosphere, on the ground, over remote atolls and at sea. Tests virtually stopped after the fall of the Soviet Union, with the last occurring in 1992. “We’ve scanned about a little over 4,200 films,” said Spriggs, added that, so far, only a few hundred had been closely analyzed. “The only data we have are these old tests.” Watch the videos here.
[image via screengrab]