French legislature resets tighter nuclear compensation law

Photo: AFP

The French legislature has again tightened the law for those seeking compensation for ill health because of the nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia.

The new law reintroduces the need for every claimant to prove a minimum exposure to radiation for a compensation claim to be accepted.

It was approved by a joint commission of the National Assembly and the Senate which met after last week’s rejection of the text in the Senate.

The National Assembly had earlier voted for the law, and in a first reading, the Senate had initially also approved it but then acceded to amendments.

The French Polynesian members of the legislature have not been in Paris since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and couldn’t take part in the discussion of the proposed law.

The compensation law clause defining the minimum exposure had been removed in 2017 because almost all compensation claims kept being rejected.

However, in 2018 the government changed its mind and reintroduced the restrictions as part of a finance act to complement a health act.

This was challenged and in February, the supreme court ruled that compensation claims lodged before the 2018 law change were not subject to the new terms.

With the new law, however, all outstanding claims have to meet the same requirements.

Tahiti marks anniversary of 1st French atomic test Photo: FB Moruroa e tatou

Between 1966 to 1996, France carried out 193 nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia and until a decade ago, France claimed its tests were clean caused no harm to humans.

The test sites of Moruroa and Fangataufa remain excised from French Polynesia and are French no-go zones.

Source: RNZ