French nuclear compo law amended, raises new concerns

2:03 pm on 15 February 2017

The French Senate has joined the National Assembly and unanimously approved an amendment to the French nuclear compensation law.

Nuclear test

Photo: Supplied

The change has eliminated the term negligible risk in assessing claims of those suffering poor health as a result of the French nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific.

The law, drawn up by Herve Morin when he was the defence minister in 2009, was considered too restrictive because almost all compensation claims were thrown out.

The overseas minister Ericka Bareigts says within one year a new commission will be set up to consider the applications.

A French Polynesian member of the Senate Lana Tetuanui says she will pay close attention to plans to set up a new commission and urged the minister to include French Polynesians.

The French move has prompted one veterans organisation Moruroa e Tatou to call for the current compensation commission, known as CIVEN, to be disbanded.

France tested its atomic weapons first in Algeria and then from 1966 to 1996 in the South Pacific in a programme which involved more than 100,000 personnel.