LIVERMORE (KPIX 5) — Once-classified films of nuclear tests are now posted to YouTube.
The Cold War-era films were restored at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the East Bay.
A team at Lawrence Livermore Labs has tracked down more than 6,000 of the nuclear testing films. They had been classified for decades. But now the lab is releasing them in the most public way possible.
One of the videos is in color and it shows a massive, mesmerizing nuclear test explosion on the Pacific Ocean in 1958. It’s one of thousands of decaying nuclear test films that a scientist and a crew of archivists and film experts at the lab have unearthed.
“We’ve located about 6,500 of them and to date we’ve scanned a little over about 4,200 films and we’ve analyzed just a small fraction of those,” said nuclear physicist Greg Spriggs
For decades, the films and the data they contained were top secret, locked away in high-security vaults.
And Spriggs says the films still contain secrets.
“Looking at these films we’ve found a lot of different pieces of information had not been analyzed back in the 50s and we’re discovering new things about these detonations never even seen before,” he said.
But the U.S. government has now declassified them and the lab has posted dozens of the films on YouTube for the world to see, mere months after President Donald Trump made waves by tweeting “the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability…”
The White House has signaled no actual changes on nuclear policy.
But Spriggs said, “…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.”