French government to pay 10 million euros to nuclear test victims
Paris - The French government will pay out at least 10 million euros (13.62 million dollars) to people with health problems as a result of French nuclear tests carried out in the Algerian Sahara and in Polynesia, Defence Minister Herve Morin was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
"About 150,000 civilian and military employees are theoretically concerned, as well as the people who lived in the Sahara and Polynesia at the time of the tests," Morin said in an interview published in the daily Le Figaro.
Between 1960 and 1966, France carried out more than 200 atmospheric nuclear tests, 17 of them in the Algerian Sahara and 193 in French Polynesia.
The individual cases will be examined by an independent commission comprised of physicians and headed by a magistrate, Morin said.
Contrary to past decision, those demanding compensation will no longer have to prove a causal link between the radiation and their illness. "The state will have to prove that the malady was not radioactively induced," Morin said.
The measure is to be presented to the Cabinet soon, he said. The Defence Ministry has earmarked 10 million euros for the first year of the programme. (dpa)