Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. ~George Santayana
Between 1945 and 1962 the United States conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests. These tests were filmed in the highest detail available at the time. For the last 5 years Greg Spriggs, along with film experts from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), has been working to track down these nuclear test films and digitize them before they deteriorate altogether.
Nuclear Test Videos Were Highly Classified
There are over 10,000 classified films that have been sitting around in high-security vaults. Spriggs has been acquiring them and getting them declassified. The hunt isn’t just for posterity. The data in these films is valuable to today’s scientists in studying nuclear weapons without having to conduct modern day tests. So far, 750 of the 6500 recovered films have been declassified and many are now available on YouTube.
The Work Isn’t Complete Yet
It took almost a year to build a scanner that could accurately capture the detail in the original films. By Spriggs’ estimation, it will be another 2 years before the remaining nuclear test videos are scanned. It will take even longer to get them analyzed and declassified so they can be available to researchers and the public.
We hope that 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. ~Greg Spriggs
Here is a video of Spriggs talking about the acquisition & condition of the nuclear test films: