France’s Nuclear Victims (and Correct Number of Weapons)

From Tanguy et Laverdure, Menace sur Mururoa, 1996.

By Hans M. Kristensen

The news media reports that the French government has decided to “pay compensation to those suffering illnesses linked to┬áradiation” from the French nuclear tests conducted in Northern Africa and the South Pacific between 1960 and 1996. This being the same state that for decades denied any health effects from the tests.

Many of the news reports quote FAS estimating the French nuclear arsenal at 348 warheads in 2008. For the record, our latest estimate made in July 2008 is about 300 warheads.

Additional Resources: French Nuclear Forces 2008 (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July 2008) | Status of World Nuclear Forces (FAS web site)

Researchers Worldwide Rally to Help Scientist Exposed to Ebola

SciecneInsider has the details surrounding an Ebola researcher who pricked her finger with a needle during an experiment last week. Virologists around the world are collaborating to try to save their colleagues life. An exposure to Ebola from a needle stick does not often lead to infection with the deadly illness, but a group of scientists immediately got together to discuss a long list of experimental vaccines and treatments that could possibly prevent infection or slow progression of the disease. As a result, the exposed researcher was given a vaccine that has previously been shown to provide protection in monkeys who had been exposed to Ebola. The incubation period of Ebola is typically between 4 and 21 days, and it has only been 6 days since the needle stick incident. Thus far there is no indication that the researcher has contracted an Ebola infection, but virologists are anxiously following her case.