Wednesday, 25 March 2009 9:55 AM

France to Compensate Victims of Nuclear Tests

The French government has announced that it will compensate victims of nuclear tests carried out by the government in the region and in Algeria.

According to the report by the Associated Press, France's Defense Minister, Herve Morin, stated, "It's time for our country to be at peace with itself, at peace thanks to a system of compensation and reparations, while presenting a draft law on the payouts.

Nuclear tests were carried out in the Algerian Sahara desert and the Pacific between 1960 and 1996, prompting widespread protests from around the world.
In the region, the Mururoa atoll of French Polynesia was the site of various protests, the well-known Greenpeace vessel, Rainbow Warrior, leading one of these charges.

According to the report by the Associated Press, victims have cautiously welcomed the move but say that it is 'still too stingy and is only a first step toward healing wounds left by explosions that sent blinding white flashes cascading over French Polynesia and the Sahara Desert'.

According to the report, the Defense Minister said that the French government 'will set aside some euro10 million ($13.5 million) for the compensation for the first year' but that 'only a few hundred were likely to be eligible for compensation, which would be decided on a case-by-case basis and granted only to those who suffered health problems related to the tests'.
Also entitled are descendants of victims who have since.

According to the report, the 'bill will be presented in the coming months to parliament, and while it is likely to pass, victims' groups are pushing to add amendments to broaden the number of people eligible'.