Thursday, December 3, 2015

Movies of Cold War Bomb Tests Hold Nuclear Secrets

Spriggs, in his Livermore office, is still going one film at a time. While his team has scanned all 3,000 of the declassified films, they have another 4,000 classified ones to go. The first step is declassifying them all, which is a huge bureaucratic undertaking: Spriggs will sit in a room with another trained declassifier to view and then fill out a form for each and every single film, a process that takes about 10 minutes each. Then someone at the Department of Energy will have to approve each film for declassification. Since the estimated yields for almost all the bombs tested in these films are already public, there’s no good reason to keep them classified, says Spriggs—only that no one’s bothered to fill out all the paperwork until now. “It’s this big bureaucracy that just goes back and forth.”

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