8 Jun 2005

French court gives first ever invalid's pension to nuclear test veteran

1:51 pm on 8 June 2005

A court in France has awarded for the first time a life time invalid's pension to a former member of the military for health problems caused by exposure to a nuclear weapons test.

The decision was made by the pensions court in the city of Tours in a case brought by Andre Mezieres who was an airforce officer during the French atomic tests in the Sahara in the 1960s.

The news agency AFP reports that the landmark ruling says the consequences of the tests can be felt many years after the exposure to radiation.

The test veterans association in France has welcomed the ruling and saysa further 200 cases of a similar nature are pending in the courts across France.

Mr Mezieres says he had no protection at the time of the blast which took place 40 kilometres from his base.