New French nuclear compo stance welcomed

7:28 pm on 8 February 2017
Roland Oldham, head of Mururoa e Tatou

Roland Oldham, head of Mururoa e Tatou Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

There has been a reserved response in French Polynesia to France's plan to ease compensation terms for victims of the nuclear weapons tests.

Yesterday, the French joint law commission decided unanimously to remove the term negligible risk from the nuclear compensation law.

The main test veterans organisation Moruroa e Tatou says the decision is a victory but as the victims have been disappointed so often, it is now to be seen how the new position will be applied.

The head of the organisation Roland Oldham has told Radio Tahiti 1 that the French state has allowed to let things slide and mocked the victims for a long time.

The compensation law, drawn up by Herve Morin when he was the defence minister in 2009, has been widely criticised for being too restrictive because almost all claims have been thrown out.

Until then France claimed its tests were clean and had caused no harm.

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.

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