On Febuary 13, 1960 the French detonated a nuclear bomb in Algeria which had a blast capacity of 70 kilotons — or more than four times the strength of Little Boy, the U.S. bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II.
France's nuclear bomb test in the Reggane area in Algeria, known by the code name "Gerboise Bleue", announced to the world that France was now a nuclear power.
France would go on to test nuclear weapons 17 times in the Algerian Sahara desert between 1960 and 1966. However, those nuclear tests came at the expense of the region's people and its environment.
These Nuclear explosions took place during the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962) from France.
The armed confrontation with the Algerian Liberation Army at the time was going badly for France, with widespread international support for decolonisation and pressure on Paris to recognise the Algerian people's right to self-determination.
Obviously, France was not concerned by the deadly radiation its tests left behind and what effects they will have on the Algerians, whom they were having a bloody and brutal armed conflict.
Nearly half a century later, local people -- backed by Algeria's government -- say the tests left a legacy of environmental devastation and health problems, and are demanding that Paris issue an apology and pay compensation.
To this day Algerians are suffering from the effects and the fallout of the French atomic legacy 56 years after nuke tests.
Many Algerians experience cancers, blindness and birth defects linked directly to the French atomic bombs, but France seems oblivious to their suffering.
Estimates of the number of Algerians affected by testing range from 27,000 — cited by the French Ministry of Defense — to 60,000, the figure given by Abdul Kadhim al-Aboudi, an Algerian professor of nuclear physics.
A compensation scheme for victims of France’s nuclear tests exists, but it has made payouts to only 17 people. The majority of those were residents of French Polynesia, where France relocated its nuclear testing campaign after leaving Algeria.