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Project Zeus (French: Operation Zeus; German: Das Zeussprojekt) was the code name for the 1950's French nuclear weapons program. Project Zeus is believed to have been begun as early as the late 1940's and began in earnest after the 1952 International Science Exhibition in Berlin. The majority of the work on Zeus was done at the French nuclear labs outside of Oran in the remote Sahara Desert, and in 1955 the scientists performed what they believed to be a fission reaction. The plans for a weaponized model were complete within three years and the French conducted five nuclear tests - world's first - in the Algerian Desert at Al-Arabiya in the fall of 1958 and the spring of 1959.
Project Zeus led to the development of the Bon and Mal nuclear devices detonated off of the Anatolian coast in November of 1959 in the final stages of the Black Sea War as well as the speedy development of the fusion weapon by 1966. Due to security leaks, stolen plans and early-stage Cold War espionage, Zeus led to the starting of the American nuclear project (Manhattan) by 1956 which in turn led to the detonation of nuclear weapons in the New Mexico desert in January of 1962. Japanese and Chinese researchers may have stolen French nuclear plans as well, although by the mid-1960's when the Asian nuclear programs were in full swing, the technology needed to develop nuclear weapons was more commonly known.