The second French nuclear test in the South Pacific this fall will be more than three times as powerful as the first one, according to the director of the French Atomic Energy Commission.
Jean Lichere said Friday that the blast, expected within days, will be 75 kilotons to 150 kilotons. The Sept. 5 test was announced as a maximum of 20 kilotons, but measured at 8 kilotons by Australian and New Zealand seismic stations.By comparison, the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima in 1945 was the equivalent of about 20 kilotons of TNT.
Lichere declined to say whether the explosion would be a test of France's new TN-75 submarine-launched missile warhead, although the warhead would require a test of 75 kilotons to 150 kilotons.
Lichere also declined to say whether the test would be at Mururoa Atoll, 750 miles southeast of Tahiti, where France broke a three-year testing moratorium with the Sept. 5 blast, or at Fangataufa Atoll, 60 miles away, normally the site of larger tests.