- Canopus (nuclear test)
In 1966, France was able to use fusion fuel to boost
plutoniumimplosion devices with the Rigel shot. Roger Dautry, a nuclear physicist, was selected by the CEA to lead the development effort to construct a two-stage weapon. France did not have the ability to produce the materials needed for a two-stage thermonuclear device at the time, so 151 tons of heavy waterwas purchased from Norwayand an additional 168 tons from the United States. This heavy water went into nuclear reactorsin 1967 to produce tritiumneeded for the device.
The announcement by France in the late 1960s to test a hydrogen bomb provoked the
People's Republic of Chinato conduct a full scale hydrogen bomb test of its own on June 17, 1967. [ [http://www.atomicforum.org/france/1968.html Atomic Forum; French Atmospheric Nuclear Testing Series - 1968, ] ]
France was to test the new device as part of a 5 shot series conducted at the
nuclear testinggrounds in French Polynesia. The device weighed three tons and used a lithium deuteridesecondary stage with a highly enriched uraniumjacket primary.
Fangataufa was selected as the location of the shot due to its isolation in respect to the main base on
Mururoa. The device was suspended from a large hydrogenfilled balloon. It was detonated at 18:30:00.5 GMTwith a 2.6 megatonyield at an altitude of 1800 feet. As a result of the successful detonation, France became the 5th thermonuclear nation.
The 1998 film Godzilla uses this particular test as the basis for the monster
Zilla, an infant green iguanamutated by the fallout from the blast. (However, the footage in the movie is actually from the Baker Test in 1946.)
Gerboise Bleue(French atmospheric A-bomb)
Agathe (atomic test)(French underground A-bomb)
Force de frappe
Nuclear weapons and France
List of states with nuclear weapons
* [http://atomicforum.org/france/france.html France's Nuclear Weapons Program] at the [http://www.atomicforum.org Atomic Forum]
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