French court gives hope for nuclear compo claims

5:28 pm on 26 November 2016

A French court has ordered the state to compensate three veterans irradiated during nuclear tests between the 1960s and 1990s.

The Nantes court received 13 applications from veterans or widows whose claims for compensation had been denied by the French Defence Ministry.

Of the three veterans, two served in Algeria and the latter, who was a navy mechanic in French Polynesia in the 1960s, has since developed seven successive cancers.

The veterans' lawyer, Cécile Labrunie, says the painful battle for nuclear compensation had to be prosecuted so the state's repeated promise to fully compensate victims does not remain a dead letter.

The French state denied all evidence that nuclear tests were harmful to health until 2009, when it introduced the programme to give compensation to victims of radiation exposure.

But of more than 1,000 claims, only 20 people have ever recieved compensation.