France: Mushroom over Mururoa

Until recently, Algeria's remote Sahara has been the test site for France's fledgling atomic program. With the agreement under which France uses the site about to run out and Africans, in general, resentful of the French tests, Charles de Gaulle had to find another place to blast. The one he chose is about as far from population centers as possible. It is Mururoa atoll, 750 miles southeast of Tahiti in the South Pacific.

In the past three years, France has spent $600 million on the new test facility. Some 15,000 Frenchmen, supported by...

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