Speed Reads


Now you can watch super secret nuclear weapons tests from the 1950s on YouTube

Once kept far from the public eye, formerly classified footage of U.S. nuclear tests made in the 1950s and 1960s is now available on YouTube via the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. There are about 60 clips already published as of this writing, many of them less than a minute long, and thousands more to come.

The films were originally used by nuclear scientists, who analyzed them one frame at a time to create nuclear prediction models that remain in use half a century later. Back then, researchers "actually had to eyeball what the answer was or what the measurement was," said Greg Spriggs, who is directing a project to reanalyze the footage using far more accurate computer technology at the Lawrence Livermore facilities.

Spriggs said the films should be public to remind people "of the immense energy that's produced with a nuclear detonation, and hopefully ... nobody will ever want to use these things or attack the United States." Watch that energy in action during a test called Operation Hardtack, below. Bonnie Kristian