French Polynesia Nuclear Veterans: Admission By France's Former PM A Welcome Step

Promises have been made before, what actions are going to be taken?

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 1, 2016) – The chair of a nuclear veterans association in French Polynesia says the admission by France's former Prime Minister that nuclear testing had a detrimental effect is a welcome step.

Last week, Alain Juppé, who was prime minister from 1995 to 1997 when nuclear testing was controversially resumed, conceded that the tests harmed the environment and peoples' health.

It took Paris until 2009 to admit that nuclear testing wasn't clean, which Mr Juppé said was wrong.

Roland Oldham, who is the chair of Mururoa e Tatou, said that was a great first step, but he would wait to see if anything came from it.

"As someone who played an important role in the nuclear testing he recognised the mistake that he had made, that's what he said. But as far as we're concerned that's one thing - that's great," Mr Oldham said.

"But that's not the most important thing for us. For us, the most important things is what are they going to do?"

Mr Oldham said he's also not getting too excited about Mr Juppé's pledge to revisit compensation laws for those affected by nuclear testing.

Mr Juppé, who is seeking the French presidency next year, issued the pledge if he was elected.

Mr Oldham welcomed the announcement but said the promise had been made before.

"There have been some before. (Nikolas) Sarkozy also had promised that he recognised the damage that had been done to this country, but had done nothing.

"(François) Hollande came around and, for someone who had made promises to us and has not been to keep his promises, I think that's very sad. We don't believe in promises, we will only believe in acts."

Radio New Zealand International
Copyright © 2016 RNZI. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment