French court reinstates some Tahiti nuclear compensation claims

3:38 pm on 6 February 2020

France's supreme court has reinstated compensation claims of French Polynesian nuclear weapons test victims thrown out last year.

50 years after the first nuclear test, and 20 years after the last. The French Polynesia atoll of Mururoa is still largely a no-go zone.

The French Polynesia atoll of Mururoa is still largely a no-go zone. Photo: AFP

The applications had been dismissed because a clause was added to a French finance act in late 2018, which changed the eligibility criteria.

The court in Paris ruled that claims filed before the law change need to be considered under the terms valid at the time.

This means that only the claims filed from the beginning of last year are to be dealt with under the revised law.

The current compensation law again requires proof of a minimum level exposure to the weapons tests.

That clause had been removed in 2017 because almost all compensation claims kept being rejected.

However, to comply with the French health act, France quietly reinstated a minimum exposure level into a finance act, which led to an outcry in Tahiti.

Twenty-three types of cancer are on the list of illnesses recognised as the possible aftermath of France's more than 190 weapons tests.

One of the veterans groups has welcomed the court ruling.

Its leader has told local media that President Emmanuel Macron will be reminded of the court decision when he visits Tahiti in April.

He pointed out that while Mr Macron wants to host a summit about the planet in French Polynesia, it will be in one of the most polluted areas of the French republic.

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

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