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Long legacy of France’s nuclear tests in Algeria

Abdelkrim touhami was still a teenager when, on May 1st 1962, French
officials in Algeria told him and his neighbours to leave their homes in
the southern city of Tamanrasset. It was just a precaution.

France wasabout to detonate an atom bomb, known as Beryl, in the desert some 150km
away. The blast would be contained underground. Two French ministers were
there to witness the test.

But things did not go as planned. Theunderground shaft at the blast site was not properly sealed. The mountain above the site cracked and black smoke spread everywhere, says Mr Touhami.
The ministers (and everyone else nearby) ran as radioactive particles
leaked into the air. Nevertheless, in the months and years after, locals
would go to the area to recover scrap metal from the blast for use in their

 Economist 24th June 2021

June 26, 2021 - Posted by | AFRICA, weapons and war

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