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This Day in African History: French Test Nukes

By February 13, 2014

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On 13 February 1960 France successfully tested its first atomic bomb near the Reganne oasis in the Sahara Desert in Algeria. Three further atmospheric tests were done at the site, but following condemnation from other African nations the tests moved underground in the Hoggar Massif at In Ecker. At the time of the first test, Algeria was still a French colony, but testing continued even after independence on 3 July 1962. Testing ended only in 1966, when France moved its program to the Mururoa and Fangataufa Atolls in the South Pacific. A total of 17 nuclear tests were conducted in Algeria, including four atmospheric and 13 underground.

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