17 Feb 2014

French military arranges Moruroa media visit

4:40 pm on 17 February 2014

The French military has flown a group of journalists to its former French Polynesian nuclear weapons tests site at Moruroa atoll, with the armed forces top commander saying it is no longer the atoll of the great secret.

The atoll is a no-go zone although weapons testing stopped in 1996.

Rear-Admiral Anne Cullere has assured reporters that it is highly improbable that the atoll will collapse and unleash a huge wave.

In an interview with Tahiti-infos, she says it is her role to explain what is being done and not to reassure the public, adding that there are enough people in Polynesia to unsettle the population.

In regard to the concerns and criticism by the veterans' association, Moruroa e tatou, she says she has never been asked a question by it.

Rear-Admiral Cullere has confirmed that the 35 people based on the atoll don't eat fish from the lagoon because of the risk of ciguaterra poisoning.

She says the eating of the atoll's coconuts is also discouraged because of the risk of a falling nut killing a soldier.

A system monitoring the atoll's movements is being upgraded at a cost of almost 70 million US dollars.