They conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962
Hundreds of previously unseen footage of secret nuclear tests carried out during the Cold War has been declassified by the US government for the first time and placed on YouTube.
From 1945 to 1962, the US 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.
The footage, which consists of an estimated 10,000 of these films, lay unseen in a government archive for the last 65 years until weapons physicist Greg Spriggs of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (a federal research facility) restored the films.
Spriggs says that his team got to the project “just in time” because the films “are on the brink of decomposing to the point where they will become useless”.
In the past five years he has preserved over 7,000 films of the nuclear tests, scanning around 4,200 of the films to a digital form.
750 of the films have been declassified by the government, and Spriggs has released a collection of 64 of these to YouTube, taken from operations such as Operation Teapot and Operation Fishbowl, which involved Thor missiles launching warheads at altitudes of up to 248 miles.
Speaking to Gizmodo, Greg Spriggs says: “We hope we would never have to use a nuclear weapon ever again. 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.”