People who have suffered health problems arising from France’s past nuclear tests are in line for compensation. It is the first time the government will vote on such a measure after decades of campaigning by pressure groups. France’s Defence Minister Herve Morin said the compensation system would reflect similar ones in Britain and the United States and close a painful chapter.
Paris is setting aside some 10 million euros initially but victims groups say the money needs to be offered to more people exposed to radiation. Patrice Bouveret, from support group, Truth and Justice, said: “the government is talking about a few hundred victims, whereas several thousand people have health problems which can’t be explained by genetics or smoking but by their presence during France’s atomic tests.” Around 150,000 people were on site for the hundreds of nuclear tests France carried out in the South Pacific and the Sahara until 1996.