4 Jul 2013

France says nothing new in latest Tahiti nuclear fallout claims

1:32 pm on 4 July 2013

The French defence ministry has contradicted French Polynesian nuclear weapon test veterans who this week claimed that new documents show serious and previously unknown incidents of fallout from atmospheric tests.

Following court action in France, just over 2,000 documents were released, but citing defence secrets, 114 pages were left blank, prompting concern that many pertinent facts keep being withheld.

The ministry, however, says there is nothing new in the released documents, adding that it continues to communicate in total transparency.

The statement comes a day after the Moruroa e tatou group said the documents show a far larger number of incidents, with fallout affecting all islands and not only those listed by the ministry three years ago.

It says radiation in Tahiti from a 1974 test was only six percent of the permissible level while Moruroa e tatou quotes a document as stating exposure reached 500 times the maximum level safe for humans.

The defence ministry says the fallout has been minimal and some islands and atolls have been negatively affected by fallout clouds drifting differently than forecast.

It says it has made information available since 2006 and the latest batch of documents shows no new elements.