15 May 2006

Nuclear workers in French Polynesia call for transparency

1:27 pm on 15 May 2006

The Nuclear Workers Association in French Polynesia says it wants an apology from the French government and the publication of all existing nuclear test documents.

The Association's president, Roland Oldham, says the French are yet to acknowledge accountability for the impact of their nuclear testing in the region.

The French defence ministry's representative for nuclear safety, Marcel Jurien de la Graviere, is expected to arrive in French Polynesia this week for a series of meetings, including with the main veterans group, as well as visiting the test site of Mururoa Atoll.

France has repeatedly said it would deal with health concerns of former test site workers but this hasn't happened according to the Association.

Mr Oldham says they demand transparency and want to see all existing nuclear test documents.

"We like this document to be liberated, because if we want to talk about transparency that is the only way we can work in synergy with the French government. Otherwise I can tell that this trip of Marcel Jurien de la Graviere here is only an attempt to confuse the people and is only a big campaign of charm for the newspapers."

Mr Oldham says the veterans are also asking for a medical study into the effects of nuclear testing and a nuclear waste clean-up.