Source: Gizmodo | Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan | May 25, 2015

Atomic age photoThis year, we saw top-secret photos of the birth of the atom bomb finally declassified. The photos of how the US government used that technology after World War II are just as interesting.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has only existed since 1977. But its roots go way back to projects overseen by multiple other agencies, like the Army Corps of Engineers and the Atomic Energy Commission, which was appointed to lead the charge into our wonderful, clean, nuclear-powered future after the war—but was abolished in the 1970s as the environmental impact and human dangers of radiation emerged. But for three decades, the AEC oversaw a broad range of projects, from putting a “nuclear heart” in cow to the slightly less dramatic task of figuring out how to design safe nuclear power plants.

DOE keeps plenty of archival photos from the post-war era on Flickr, including one gigantic album of AEC-affiliated facilities, from Fermilab to the Stanford Linear Accelerator. It’s a vivid look at a complicated, sprawling organization whose legacy ranges from important to morally indefensible. Below you’ll find some of the photos, but go check out theDOE’s huge archive—seriously, it’s well worth a few minutes of your day.

Click here to view all of the photos.