29 Apr 2009

French Polynesia nuclear court case historic, say MPs

9:29 pm on 29 April 2009

A court case lodged by former nuclear test site workers in French Polynesia is being described by some local politicians as historic.

France tested nuclear weapons in the territory for 30 years until 1996.

In March, the French government drew up a bill to allow compensation.

Eight cases have been lodged in the Papeete court in a bid to win recognition and compensation for radiation-linked illnesses for the first time this week.

MP Sabrina Birk says the court case is a milestone.

"This court case is historical. The workers that worked on Mururoa, today they are ill, some have died, but it's very important that the [French] state recognises that the illness they have is due to the work they did on the nuclear test site."

A ruling is expected on June 25th.

Another MP, Tea Hirshon, agrees that the case is historic and important for the territory.