Nuclear test victims in Tahiti unconvinced by Paris decision
The Nuclear Worker' Association in French Polynesia says a recent state council decision on nuclear compensation is a communications trick and nothing has changed for the victims.
The Nuclear Workers' Association in French Polynesia says a recent state council decision on nuclear compensation is a communication trick and nothing has changed for the victims.
According to the association the state is now required to prove that contamination measures were sufficient, rather than in the past when the victim had to prove they had been exposed to radiation.
The President of the French Polynesia Nuclear Worker's Association, Roland Oldham, told Bridget Grace the cost is still prohibitive, and says he believes this is just another tactic by the French government to avoid compensation.
ROLAND OLDHAM: It's not a historical decision. For this Muruora, this law about compensation, it's not working. A lot our files go through court tribunal and the decision of the tribunal is that, the state government is not doing the right thing. And they had to prove that because most of the decision, taken by the French Government is to say that the cancer of the victim is nothing to do with the experimentation or very little, even if this guy had been working 28 years and that the cancer is part of the list in the law. So the court have been saying that it's not right and then that the French Government have to come up with the proof, that there's nothing to do with the French nuclear test. The thing that we have to be careful, it is nothing new. It's been doing on for the past two years. Secondly, we have to be very careful because this is only a trick, communication trick. Because if they make the papers, so called, to come up with the proof, that it's not due to the nuclear tests what's that mean? That mean, that us, the victims, have to pay an expert, a scientist, to bring up the proof that it's really come from the nuclear tests. And there we go deeper, in the whole way we can never come out of it. Which mean, there will be, no compensation. Because the victim don't have the money to get the expert to prove differently from what the Ministy of Defence prove. It is not a good thing for the victim. The third point I want to make, we are not to forget that Francois Hollande has promised to come here next month, on the 22nd, and that next year is the election. So all of this is part of a strategy to again make us believe that the government is taking care of our problem.
BRIDGET GRACE: What I read was it was saying now it was up to the state to prove that the containment measures had been sufficient, whereas before it was that the victims had to prove exposure. So I thought that would mean it would be easier for the victims to get compensation?
RO: That mean we're going to be in court for another many, many years. We have to pay expert scientists, because the victim, we are not scientists.
BG: Why does the victims have to pay for the scientists?
RO: Because if they come up with the proof, the scientific proof. What can we do, we don't have all the data. So it's hard for us to counterpoint the decision of the Ministry of Defence. A lot of our people are dying, a lot of the cases in front of the court have lasted more than 10 years. We are living in the situation today, where we have to pay cent quatre-vingt mille, mean one thousand, eighty thousand franc to have the expert doing expertise. I'm taking about health, I'm not talking about scientific, scientific would be even worse. I'm telling you that because we live in that situation today. We have to come up with scientific proof to say that this cancer really come from Muruora. Which is impossible.
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