ALGIERS, 13 February 2021 – France’s nuclear experiments in the Algerian desert in the 1960s were three to four times equal to Hiroshima bombing in Japan, a senior officials said Saturday.
“On this day in 1960, imperialist France carried out the first nuclear explosions in the Reggane region in the Algerian desert, in a process code-named “Gerboise Bleue (Blue Desert Rat)”, read a tweet from Algerian foreign minister, Sabri Boukadoum.
The French nuclear explosion yielded a force of 70 kilotons (kt) and its catastrophic radiological repercussions still persist, Boukadoum said.
French officials, who were then the colonial power, say they conducted 17 nuclear experiments in the Algerian desert from 1960 to 1966, but Algerian authorities put the number of the experiments at 57.
The French nuclear experiments have caused the death of around 42,000 Algerians and injured thousands due to nuclear radioactivity, in addition to the extensive damage to the environment.
French officials have rejected demands by Algerian authorities to reveal the location of the nuclear waste as well as rejecting demands for compensation for victims of the experiments.
The United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, killing an estimated 140,000 people with many more dying in the following years from the effects of radiation.
Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing around 70,000 people and forcing Japan to surrender days later.