2 Jul 2013

French nuclear fallout far worse than previously admitted

3:22 pm on 2 July 2013

French Polynesia's nuclear test veterans say a declassified French document shows Tahiti was strongly affected by fallout, contrary to assurances by the authorities.

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 documents confirm that fallout from the atmospheric tests of between 1966 and 1974 affected all islands and not only the 21 atolls listed by the defence ministry three years ago.

The head of Moruroa e tatou, Roland Oldham, says a total of 26 navy vessels were also contaminated, as was Tahiti.

"There is one document that says in Tahiti, the fallout of plutonium is 500 times higher than the maximum dose that human beings can have. This is a big worry for us."

Roland Oldham says the group will consult its lawyers for the next step in getting full disclosure from the French military.

The group will tomorrow mark the 47th anniversary of first French nuclear weapons test in the South Pacific.