29 Jul 2008

Algerians join French Polynesians' bid for French follow-up of atomic blasts

11:06 am on 29 July 2008

French Polynesian veterans of the French nuclear weapon tests are being given support in their dealings with Paris with the creation of a new committee aimed at dealing with the testing legacy.

According to press reports, the so-called truth and justice support committee has been set up by personalities from Algeria and France, including a member of the French assembly.

France carried out 17 atomic tests in Algeria's Sahara desert before shifting the weapon tests to French Polynesia's atolls in 1966.

The group wants France to pass a law to follow up on the environmental consequences of the tests, to set up a compensation fund for those suffering poor health as a result of the blasts and to lift the defence ministry's secrecy surrounding the fallout.

This is in line with the unsuccessful attempts by the Tahiti-based Mururoa o Tatou veterans' organisation to advance their case.

France maintains that its nuclear tests were clean and safe.