France Ordered Troops Into Nuke Cloud

Troops used as guinea pigs during '60s nuclear tests
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2010 4:31 AM CST
Updated Feb 17, 2010 5:42 AM CST
France Ordered Troops Into Nuke Cloud
A set of dummies propped up in the Sahara Desert awaiting a third atomic bomb explosion during French nuclear testing in 1960.   (Getty Images)

France used its own troops as guinea pigs during nuclear testing in the Sahara Desert in 1961, according to a newly declassified report. After one test, hundreds of conscripts were ordered to play war games within 700 yards of the spot where a nuclear bomb had just exploded to discover whether soldiers could fight in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear explosion.

"France left us to our fate," one ill soldier exposed to radiation tells the Independent. "They used us and then they forgot us. They didn't even follow their own logic and study the effects on our health." France—which long rejected any link between nuclear testing and soldiers' health problems—announced the creation of a compensation program last year for personnel involved in the tests.
(More France stories.)

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