France sets up Tahiti nuclear information commission

12:12 pm on 21 May 2015

France has set up a commission in French Polynesia to inform the general public about the aftermath of the French nuclear weapons tests on the atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa.

French defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian

French defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian Photo: AFP

The decision was made by the defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, for a commission to be established made up of 24 members and be chaired by the French High Commissioner in Papeete.

Between 1966 and 1996, France carried out 193 tests on the two atolls, which France now refuses to return and which remain no-go zones.

The commission, which is expected to meet one a year, will receive an annual report of the monitoring of the radiological and geomechanical risks of the former test sites.

France has been dogged by hundreds of compensation claims from test veterans but has rejected almost all applications.

In December, the French Polynesia assembly passed a resolution asking France to pay compensation for the environmental damage.

The High Commissioner immediately rebuked the assembly, saying the move could be seen as an unfriendly gesture towards the French state.

There are also fears that the atolls have been weakened by the blast and could collapse, triggering a tidal wave.

Mururoa Lagoon, Mururoa, French Polynesia

Mururoa Lagoon, Mururoa, French Polynesia Photo: Supplied

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