1 Jul 2009

France's National Assembly passes bill to compensate nuclear test veterans

11:11 am on 1 July 2009

France's National Assembly has passed a bill to compensate nuclear test veterans for the consequences of the more than 200 weapons tests carried out between 1960 and 1996 in French Polynesia and Algeria.

The Bill, which had been drawn up by the defence minister, Herve Morin, received the support of 300 MPs from the ruling coalition, while the opposition parties either abstained or voted against.

The bill will now go to the Senate.

It marks the first time that France has abandoned its previous claim that its tests were clean and had no negative effect on the veterans' health.

4 million US dollars has been set aside for possible compensation payments.

Apart from civilian populations, about 150,000 French and local military personnel were exposed to the testing regime.

Mr Morin has said he thinks there were several hundred people who could have suffered from the tests.