10 Dec 2002

Nuclear veteran's association claims that French Polynesian government stalling on genetic project

6:03 pm on 10 December 2002

French Polynesia's nuclear veterans association, Moruroa e Tatou, claims that the territorial government is stalling on giving its approval on a project designed to see if there is a link between the tests and genetic damage.

The Association's President, Roland Oldham says both France and the territorial government are afraid of possible lawsuits against them by the veterans if there was proof illnesses could be directly linked to the nuclear tests.

Moruroa e Tatou is an association of 1400 people who worked at French Polynesia's now dismantled nuclear testing facilities of Moruroa and Fangataufa.

Mr Oldhams says approval is needed for the taking of blood samples from 50 former nuclear workers and 50 others not employed at the testing facilities for overseas analysis.

Mr Oldham says that if the government does not give its approval then the association will illegally go ahead with the project.

"..the objective of the association is to go for compensation....we are very determined to do what we have to do....if we had the support we would probably do a study, even if we don't have the permit.....this will be the only way."

Roland Oldham from Moruroa e Tatou in French Polynesia