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Tons of Declassified Nuclear Weapon Test Videos Uploaded to Youtube


Weeks after Bikini Atoll held it’s 71st commemoration of the nuclear tests on it’s remote island paradise, 63 videos have been released onto Youtube, showing the devastating potential of what a nuclear blast can do.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has painstakingly digitised old film, keeping it safe for future generations of physicists to study. The films are predominantly of atmospheric weapon tests, and so far 63 videos have been put online. This is just a fraction of what they have, they’ve personally collected 6,500 of the estimated 10,000 films created during atmospheric testing and 4,200 films have been scanned. Of that number 750 have been declassified.

The film isn’t just being reproduced for the posterity of Youtube though. The film provides data that is impossible to collect now that post-testing-era scientists with computers are completely unable to collect now.

Data collected back in the day involved enlarging individual frames and eyeballing measurements. This laborious and time consuming task has meant that measurements are way off in some cases, and provides bad data for scientists to work off. With the aid of computers now though, a task that took over 1000 scientists now takes a small handful to crunch. It took a year for the team to convert a hollywood scanner into a tool that could reproduce the film digitally with scientific accuracy.

“When you go to validate your computer codes, you want to use the best data possible,” weapon physicist Greg Spriggs said. “We were finding that some of these answers were off by 20, maybe 30, percent. That’s a big number for doing code validation. One of the payoffs of this project is that we’re now getting very consistent answers. We’ve also discovered new things about these detonations that have never been seen before.”

This glut of new data has been gleaned by just a small fraction of the film, about 500 rolls. Spriggs is estimating that there’s another two years worth of film to restore and collect.

One thing is for sure though, the devastating power of nuclear weapons is terrifying.


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