28 Apr 2009

First French Polynesian court case opens for nuke compensation claims

3:13 pm on 28 April 2009

A court in French Polynesia has for the first time begun hearing complaints by eight former workers of France's nuclear weapons testing sites in Mururoa and Fangataufa.

Eight cases have been lodged in a bid to win recognition and compensation for poor health.

Last year, France admitted that its tests in the South Pacific were not clean as it had previously claimed.

Before the hearing started, the French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, met some of the veterans' representatives and questioned whether the judiciary would be impartial.

Mr Temaru said the matter should be judged by an international court and be of concern to the international community.

France tested nuclear weapons in the South Pacific for 30 years until 1996.