Tuesday, February 16, 2010
France used soldiers as guinea pigs in nuclear tests in the 1960s, deliberately exposing them to radiation from atomic blasts to test the effects, according to a report revealed on Tuesday.
The secret military report, obtained by AFP, said that between 1960 and 1966 France sent troops onto Algerian desert test sites “to study the physiological and psychological effects caused on humans by an atomic weapon.”
One operation in 1961 involved military personnel advancing on foot and in trucks to within a few hundred metres (yards) of the epicentre of a nuclear blast less than an hour after detonation, according to the report.
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The conscripts were given 45 minutes to dig foxholes in the contaminated desert earth, protected only by the military-issue boots, capes, gloves and simple face masks.
“It appeared from the results that at 800 metres from point zero and outside the fall-out zone, the combatant was physically able to continue fighting,” the report said.
This article was posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 1:47 pm