French Polynesia: Billion dollar nuclear claim

A French nuclear test at Mururoa Atoll in 1971 Image copyright AFP
Image caption France carried out scores of nuclear tests in the Pacific region

An overseas territory governed by France is to ask Paris for nearly $1bn in compensation for damage caused by nuclear weapons tests, it's been reported.

The assembly of French Polynesia, based in Papete, has prepared a demand for $930m (£594m) over the 193 tests carried out by France in the South Pacific between 1966 and 1996, Radio New Zealand International reports. The ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira party, which opposes independence from France, is also demanding an additional $132m for the continued occupation of a pair of atolls used for nuclear testing but which still not been returned.

French Polynesia is a territory comprising more than 100 islands and atolls with its own government, but is still part of the French Republic. At the end of French nuclear testing in 1996, former Polynesian president Gaston Flosse negotiated a $150m annual payment to support the country's economy.

The billion-dollar claim is not universally popular in Papete. Current president Edouard Fritch said he was unaware of the assembly's demand and was "disappointed" at plans to ask Paris for the money, Radio New Zealand reported.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption French Polynesia still carries the scars of nuclear testing

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