French nuclear compensation law snagged in Senate

12:58 pm on 1 June 2020

The French Senate has changed its position on a proposed law which would tighten the criteria for those seeking compensation for ill health because of the nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia.

The French Senate in Paris, France in 2019.

Photo: AFP

In a late night vote, the Senate rejected the bill which the government had introduced after France's supreme court ruled in February that compensation claims lodged before a 2018 law change were not subject to the new terms.

In a first reading in March, the Senate had approved the bill and the National Assembly followed suit.

The latest Senate vote means the bill is likely go to a joint commission with National Assembly members who will have the final word.

The new law was proposed in order to reintroduce the need for every claimant to prove a minimum exposure to radiation for a compensation claim to be accepted.

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

However, in 2018 the government reintroduced the restrictions as part of a finance act to complement a health act.

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

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