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The Military United States Earth Science

Physicist Declassifies Rescued Nuclear Test Films (llnl.gov) 62

Eloking quotes a report from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: The U.S. conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, with multiple cameras capturing each event at around 2,400 frames per second. But in the decades since, around 10,000 of these films sat idle, scattered across the country in high-security vaults. Not only were they gathering dust, the film material itself was slowly decomposing, bringing the data they contained to the brink of being lost forever. For the past five years, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) weapon physicist Greg Spriggs and a crack team of film experts, archivists and software developers have been on a mission to hunt down, scan, reanalyze and declassify these decomposing films. The goals are to preserve the films' content before it's lost forever, and provide better data to the post-testing-era scientists who use computer codes to help certify that the aging U.S. nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective. To date, the team has located around 6,500 of the estimated 10,000 films created during atmospheric testing. Around 4,200 films have been scanned, 400 to 500 have been reanalyzed and around 750 have been declassified. An initial set of these declassified films -- tests conducted by LLNL -- were published today in an LLNL YouTube playlist.
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Physicist Declassifies Rescued Nuclear Test Films

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  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @07:23AM (#54057145) Journal

    are da bomb!


  • by DanJ_UK ( 980165 ) *
    Atom bomb baby baby, atom bomb...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    When some own them they are called deterrents when others seek then they are called weapons.

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )
      Same reason is when we want to find out activities of other countries we employ intelligence agents. When these other countries do the same to us, we accuse them of using spies.
  • That's a lot of atmospheric testing. I wonder how much of that caused the destruction of the ozone layer.
  • Once Spriggs did complete the first scans and roll his sleeves up for the analysis, he discovered that much of the data published were wrong. All the films would need to be reanalyzed.

    "When you go to validate your computer codes, you want to use the best data possible," 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. New correlations are now being used by the nuclear forensics community, for example."

    I'm pretty sure that's because the FBI pressured them to publish modified information. In recent years they wanted to cut about a third of one man's book on nuclear physics.

    • In recent years they wanted to cut about a third of one man's book on nuclear physics.

      [[Citation Needed]]

  • ... but a lot of these seem different. I can't help but think that they were held back because of how terrifying the imagery is. Some in particular (https://goo.gl/PviFuq , https://goo.gl/cl1QlR [goo.gl]) look like the bomb is creating a sun on Earth which then begins to destroy the Earth. If these videos were available in the 70's, 80's, or 90s, I think nuclear disarmament would have been a much more attainable goal because the severity of the risk would have been even more understood.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun