French Polynesia's pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru has accused France of nuclear racism for testing its nuclear weapons in the Pacific.
Mr Temaru made the comment to Radio 1 in Tahiti at the presentation of his Tavini Huiraatira's campaign programme for the territorial election in April.
He said it was scandalous that France knew about the risks posed by the blasts for the population, yet chose to use French Polynesia's atolls instead of France for the tests.
Between 1966 and 1996, the French military carried out 193 tests.
Mr Temaru has called on Paris to assume responsibility for the former workers at Moruroa who are now seeking compensation.
He said he would like to tell France that they are "no beggars".
Until 2009, France claimed that its weapons tests were clean, rejecting suggestions it should compensate anyone suffering from poor health because of radiation-induced illness.
Last week, the French overseas minister Annick Girardin visited Tahiti and restated that the former president Francois Hollande recognised two years ago in Papeete the French legacy and assumed responsibility.