The Hoggar massif is located in the west of the Algerian Sahara. Prehistoric men have left stunning rock carvings there. The men of the 20th century left nuclear waste.
Between 1960 and 1996, France carried out 17 nuclear tests in Algeria and 193 in French Polynesia. In Algeria, atmospheric and underground tests were carried out at the Reggane and In Ekker sites, in an atmosphere of secrecy and conflict between an Algerian nation under construction and a colonial power seeking strategic autonomy. A majority of the tests – 11 – were carried out after the Evian agreements (18 March 1962), which established Algeria’s independence.
It was not until the 1990s that the first independent studies relating to some of the dark events of that period finally became available. Disclosure about accidents that happened during some of the tests, about the risk that populations and soldiers were exposed to, in Algeria and in Polynesia alike, led to the implementation of the law “on 5 January 2010, granting recognition and compensation for the victims of French nuclear testings“. But this law does not take into account any environmental consequences.
In French Polynesia, the strong mobilization of many associations has enabled the environmental consequences to be taken into account and the first remediation steps to be put in
— source beyondnuclearinternational.org | Jean-Marie Collin and Patrice Bouveret | Jul 7, 2022