7 Feb 2007

French parliament asked to reveal details of Pacific nuclear test accidents

8:00 am on 7 February 2007

A group representing victims of radiation fallout from French nuclear tests in the Pacific and Algeria has made submissions to the French parliament demanding an end to the military secrecy surrounding the programme.

The group, which calls itself the "association of the sacrificed" wants the government to admit that nuclear

accidents took place during eight of the 210 tests carried out in the Sahara and Polynesia.

It is demanding compensation and recognition of the suffering that the estimated thousands of victims endured as a result of the nuclear testing programme.

France carried out 41 atmospheric atomic tests in Polynesia from 1966 to 1974, and followed with 134 underground tests at the same sites between 1975 and 1991.

Eight more tests took place in 1995 and 96.

While France has released some classified documents about its nuclear testing programme, Polynesian authorities have complained that their efforts to investigate the consequences of the nuclear tests have been stonewalled by the French defense ministry.