FRANCE TO ANSWER FOR NUCLEAR TESTING IN FRENCH POLYNESIA

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Former workers seeking compensation

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Mar 24, 2009) - The French government will next month answer charges it failed to protect its French Polynesian workers from fall-out during 30 years of Pacific nuclear tests.

The industrial relations tribunal in Papeéte has found that France must account for the consequences of nuclear testing on the health of people in its Pacific territory.

Three former workers who suffer blood cancers from what they say are the effects of French nuclear testing will launch the case before the tribunal.

The widows of five workers who have died are also taking action against France.

The former workers and widows are each seeking compensation of 200-thousand US dollars for suffering from fall-out-related illnesses.

The association representing former French Polynesian nuclear test workers says the trial gives hope to all victims of French nuclear testing, including those in Algeria.

Morurua e tatou’s coordinator John Doom says the court will be flooded with several hundred former workers.

Among them will be the new President of French Polynesia, Oscar Temaru, who worked at Moruroa.

Mr. Doom says the trial will have repercussions at national and international level.

He says victims of nuclear testing around the world must know that the nuclear powers will not remain immune from punishment.

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