Bloomberg News

Sarkozy Pledges Compensation for Victims of French Nuclear Tests

February 04, 2012

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy promised more and speedier compensation for people exposed to radiation during atomic tests conducted in French Polynesia.

A larger number of victims will be recognized as eligible for payments under a decree that will be published soon, Sarkozy said in a statement on the Elysee’s website.

A 2010 French law recognized for the first time a link between exposure to nuclear tests and damage to health, opening the door for compensation. About 150,000 civilians and soldiers were exposed to radiation between 1960 and 1996 in Algeria and on the Polynesian atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa, the state has said. About 10 million euros ($13 million) was set aside for initial payments, former defense minister Herve Morin said in 2009.

The last French tests, all underground in the Pacific, were conducted under President Jacques Chirac just after his election in 1995 amid international protests. Chirac halted the tests in January 1996.

--Editor: Sara Marley

To contact the reporter on this story: Tara Patel in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at

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