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US Declassifies Hundreds of Cold War Nuclear Bomb Tests (VIDEOS)

© Photo : Pixabay / Nuclear explosion
Nuclear explosion - Sputnik International
Sixty-two US nuclear bomb tests from the 1940s, 50s and 60s were declassified over the weekend by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), a federally funded research and development center in California.

LLNL released a previous batch of nuclear test videos in March. From 1945 to 1962, LLNL was the site of 210 atmospheric test nuclear explosions, with some tests filmed by as many as 50 different cameras at once.

Reportedly the footage had sat in storage for decades until 2007, when LLNL nuclear physicist Greg Spriggs was tasked with creating a new model of nuclear explosions.

Spriggs, the stories go, noticed a problem: while the math behind his model was sound, it didn't match the historical data from LLNL nuclear tests in the past. This spurred him to push for the footage of these tests to be declassified for study. This led Spriggs to discover that much of the historical data had been improperly logged — sometimes as much as 30 percent.

"These are devastating weapons, and I hope they're never used in war," Spriggs said in a LLNL press release. "But the stockpile has been an effective deterrent for more than 70 years. My hope is that this project can help to make sure it stays viable into the future."

Spriggs' discovery has led to LLNL reanalyzing all of their nuclear test footage to determine whether or not the data collected over half a century ago is accurate. Modern film scanning technology allows accurate data to be derived from even degrading WWII-era black and white footage.

The LLNL archive is also being digitized so the information can be preserved for future generations of nuclear scholars. The team has located 6,500 videos and has digitized 4,200 of them thus far. Seven hundred fifty, meanwhile, have been declassified and revealed to the public.

"We've received a lot of demand for these videos and the public has a right to see this footage," Spriggs said. "Not only are we preserving history, but we're getting much more consistent answers with our calculations."

"It's been 25 years since the last nuclear test, and computer simulations have become our virtual test ground. But those simulations are only as good as the data they're based on. Accurate data is what enables us to ensure the stockpile remains safe, secure and effective without having to return to testing."

Spriggs refers to the fact that the US has not conducted a nuclear weapons test since 1992. Although the US has not ratified the UN Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, all US nuclear tests these days are conducted via computer simulation.

All of the released LLNL footage is being uploaded to the lab's YouTube account, and can be viewed here.

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