The United States executed more than 200 nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962. Each experiment was documented using cameras, and the videos were recorded at around 2400 frames per second. After the tests, the films were unused and were lying inside high-security vaults all over the country. The videotapes were gathering dust and were also slowly decomposing, and the risk of losing the data stored on them was too high.
A collaborative team which comprised of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) weapon physicist, Greg Spriggs and a crack team of film experts, archivists and software developers spent the last five years finding these tapes, scanning, sorting them and classifying them. The team aimed to preserve this vital part of US military history as well as assist contemporary US scientists in understanding the cache of aging US nuclear weapons.
The post-testing-era scientists use computer codes to certify that the weapons remain safe, secure and effective. A huge collection of these films are now available for public viewing via Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory YouTube channel. The video varies in quality and range in length from a few seconds to several minutes of the test footage. It also serves as an excellent reminder of the potential calamity that nuclear weapons can cause.