Tahiti test veterans dismayed at compo law change

11:29 am on 3 June 2019

A nuclear test veterans organisation in French Polynesia says it expects that from now on compensation claims for illnesses caused by the French nuclear weapons tests will all be rejected.

Group on Mangareva opposed to shipment of building material from Hao

Group on Mangareva opposed to shipment of building material from Hao Photo: Facebook Association 193

The Association 193 said the reintroduction of a minimum level of exposure to radiation for those claiming compensation has in practice voided the law which was aimed at helping the test victims.

It said the law now applies to a limited area, meaning claims for exposure to test fallout after 1974 will be thrown out.

The law change was made through an amendment to the French finance act last year after a report by a commission chaired by a French Polynesia member of the French Senate Lana Tetuanui.

Both the French Polynesian government and Mrs Tetuanui defended the amendment after broad criticism which was triggered by an expert opinion to reject 10 claims awaiting a decision in court in line with the changed law.

She caused further controversy last week by drawing a link between tobacco use and radiation poisoning.

She said if people know the risk posed by tobacco it is not up to the French state to compensate smokers who get cancer in French Polynesia or who have been to French Polynesia.

The Greens said she should stop saying silly things because it is grotesque.

Between 1966 to 1996, France carried out 193 nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia.

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