18 May 2005

Leaked report indicates France knowingly exposed Tahitians to nuclear test risks

7:09 pm on 18 May 2005

The French Polynesian association of nuclear test veterans has presented leaked documents in Tahiti that indicate that France knowingly exposed the people of Mangareva to nuclear fallout from its weapons tests in the 1960s.

The head of Mururoa e Tatou, Roland Oldham, says top secret reports show that the French military doctors advised that children, pregnant women and the elderly be evacuated from Mangareva island and not to eat fish from the testing zone.

Mr Oldham says the military hierarchy, in its words, dismissed the concern.

"It is impossible to do ecavuations of the people of Mangareva because it would be a panic politically. It is impossible to do that. Because if we have to do that the nuclear testing programme of the French in the Pacifc would be in difficulty."

Mr Oldham says Mangareva people have now asked the French high commission to arrange for the release of the test records.

He says if France ignores their demand, Muroroa e Tatou will publish more and stronger documents.