9 Oct 2009

French senate takes step towards recognising nuclear weapons test aftermath

11:52 am on 9 October 2009

A French senate committee has approved amendments to a bill to compensate nuclear test veterans for the consequences of the more than 200 weapons tests carried out between 1960 and 1996 in French Polynesia and Algeria.

The foreign affairs and defence committee added 11 amendments that would assume that there was a causal link between the tests and negative effect on the veterans' health.

4 million US dollars has been set aside for possible compensation payments.

The bill had been drawn up by the defence minister, Herve Morin, and marked the first time that France has abandoned its previous claim that its tests were clean.

The French veterans organisation has welcomed the proposed senate amendments but expressed regret that the organisation hasn't been included in a compensation commission.

It added that the bill should aim at offering assistance akin to that available to people who had been exposed to asbestos.