30 Jun 2008

French Government nuclear safety expert meets test veterans group in French Polynesia

3:17 pm on 30 June 2008

The French government's nuclear safety expert, Marcel Jurien de la Graviere, has met members of the French Polynesian veteran organisation, Mororua o Tatou, during his latest visit to the territory.

He flew to Rikitea in the Gambier island to inspect work on dismantling facilities, including shelters for civilians, set up for the French nuclear weapons tests between 1966 and 1996.

He was accompanied to Rikitea by the territory's president, Gaston Tong Sang, and the French high commissioner, Anne Boquet, who with the trip concluded her official posting.

The news agency Tahitipresse says rehabilitation work on Rikitea is expected to be concluded in March, before the clean-up will be continued on Hao.

Mororua o Tatou has been seeking compensation for test veterans suffering poor health but the French state has so far refused to accept a causal link between the atomic blasts and the workers' conditions.