FRENCH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY REJECTS COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY ON PACIFIC NUCLEAR

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PARIS, France (January 22, 2001 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---The French National Assembly on Friday rejected a request from the French Green party Les Verts to set up a commission of enquiry to investigate possible consequences of nuclear testing in the Pacific.

Although the National Assembly's Defense Commission rejected the request, it unanimously resolved at the same time to ask a "parliamentary office on scientific and technological choices" to study the "environmental and health incidence of France's nuclear tests between 1960 and 1996."

Defense commission spokesman Bernard Grasset said the decision "was not justified."

He said another commission of enquiry "could not obtain more objective and independent information" than that already collected by an earlier investigation lead by the International Atomic Energy Agency (AIEA) and the French Institution for Health and Medical Research (INSERM).

After being resumed between mid-1995 and early 1996, France's nuclear testing at French Polynesia's atolls of Moruroa and Fangataufa finally ended. What was then known as the Centre d'Expérimentation du Pacifique (CEP) later was dismantled.

Since then, France has pledged to help its French Pacific territory "reconvert" its economy by providing, until 2006, a volume of funding similar to that generated by CEP.

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