6 Jul 2004

French Polynesian nuclear victims find support from the Territory's new President

8:18 pm on 6 July 2004

French Polynesia's Former Nuclear Workers' Association wants the new territorial government to set up a special register for victims.

The territory's president, Oscar Temaru, has agreed to form a sub-committee to investigate the consequences of 30 years of nuclear tests in the area.

The move follows a recent meeting between Mr Temaru and the association.

The association's president, Roland Oldham, says he believes there are up to 15,000 former nuclear workers, although the army estimates there are only 4700.

Mr Oldham says it's vital the government invite former workers to register so their health problems can be monitored.

"I think that government can help by putting together some sort of public service where former workers are invited to come forward and have their name registered because for us it's very important to know how many people have worked on Morurua and more important is to register the kind of sickness."

DUR; 18

The tests went on in Moruroa and Fangataufa Atolls until the so-called Pacific Experimentation Centre, run by the French army, was dismantled in 1996.