1 Jul 2008

French official dismisses nuclear test veterans complaints

3:09 pm on 1 July 2008

The French government's nuclear safety expert, Marcel Jurien de la Graviere, says the fallout from the nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia has not been, as it has been claimed, the cause of illnesses.

Speaking during a visit to the Gambier islands, Mr de la Graviere said the only recognised conditions concerned thyroid problems of people who were under the age of 15 at the time.

The French Polynesian veterans organisation, Mororua o Tatou, has been seeking compensation for workers suffering poor health.

The French state has so far refused to accept a causal link between the atomic blasts and the workers' conditions.

Mr de la Graviere has completed his latest visit to the territory which included an inspection of the clean-up of Rikitea where facilities, including shelters for civilians, are being dismantled.

France tested nuclear weapons in the Pacific between 1966 and 1996.