FRENCH ADMIRAL SAYS FRENCH PACIFIC NUCLEAR TESTS

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WERE SAFE

CANBERRA, Australia (March 1, 1998 - Radio Australia/Tohi)---The commanding officer of French Polynesia’s armed forces says French Nuclear tests carried out on Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls in the South Pacific between 1966 and 1973 were environmentally safe.

Vice Admiral Le Beere says a report to be released by the international atomic energy agency will confirm this finding.

Admiral Le Beere was responding to an article in the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, which reported serious radioactive pollution on Rikitea Islet, the site of the first French nuclear atmospheric tests in July 1996, Radio Australia reports.

The magazine said the nuclear pollution on the islet, some 310 nautical miles southeast of Moruroa, was not officially recognized.

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