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PAPEETE, French Polynesia (September 15, 1997 - Niuswire/Post-Courier)--- France has dismantled two-thirds of the installations in its now closed nuclear test site at Moruroa Atoll in the South Pacific, say French military sources.

The sources, quoting site commander General Michel Boileau speaking at Moruroa last Thursday, said the installations would be entirely dismantled by next July.

The test site was closed after a final, internationally-decried series of underground tests in 1995-96.

France has pledged not to conduct further tests for the warheads equipping its independent nuclear deterrent force but to carry out computer simulations instead.

About 500 people are now employed in the dismantling operations at Moruroa.

"In July 1998, all that will remain here will be a platoon of Foreign Legionnaires, about 30 men," Boileau was quoted as saying.

However, monitoring will be maintained for five to 10 years to verify radioactivity levels in the area where France conducted scores of tests over three decades.

Title -- 882 FRENCH POLYNESIA: Moruroa site 'being dismantled Date -- 15 September 1997 Byline -- None Origin -- Niuswire ( Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 15/9/97 Copyright -- Post-Courier/Agencies Status -- Unabridged

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