Tue Mar 9th, 2021 at 06:57:22 AM EST
France has underestimated impact of nuclear tests in French Polynesia, research finds | The Guardian |
The Mururoa Files, a collaboration between investigative journalism newsroom Disclose, Princeton university's Program on Science & Global Security and an environmental justice research collective, Interprt, suggest the impact of the Aldébaran, Encelade and Centaure tests of 1966, 1971 and 1974 was far greater than officially acknowledged.
"The state has tried hard to bury the toxic heritage of these tests," said Geoffrey Livolsi, Disclose's editor-in-chief. "This is the first truly independent scientific attempt to measure the scale of the damage and to acknowledge the thousands of victims of France's nuclear experiment in the Pacific."
France's national institute of health and medical research (Inserm) last month published a report on the health consequences of the tests, arguing it "could not conclude with certainty" that there was a link between them and the multiple cases of cancer that have emerged on the islands, but stressing a need "to refine dose estimates".
The Mururoa Files' modelling of the fallout from the Centaure bomb alone - the last to be exploded in the atmosphere before France's tests moved underground - suggests Paris has, in fact, underestimated contamination on Tahiti by as much as 40%, potentially allowing tens of thousands more people to be officially recognised as test victims.
The Radiological Situation at the Atolls of Mururoa And Fangataufa | IAEA - June 1998 |
France faces Hague complaint over Polynesia nuclear tests | France24 - Oct. 10, 2018 |
France's Nuclear Testing Programme
France was the fourth nation to join the "Nuclear Club" when it successfully detonated a large nuclear device in Algeria in 1960. Over the next five years, France conducted 17 nuclear weapons tests at two locations in Algeria. Four were atmospheric tests and 13 were detonated underground.
Françafrique: Radioactive Disaster Niger
Extracting a radioactive disaster in Niger | Down to Earth - March 2019 |
For 40 years, French firms have been extracting uranium ore in the heart of the Sahara. But instead of benefiting, local communities in Niger have suffered in misery.
France: The old colonial master
The interest of France in Niger dates back to the colonial era; however the discovery of untapped uranium reserves in the country further reinforced this interest. It is France that gets the real benefit of uranium ore in Niger by reinforcing the Franco-African policy in the continent. Critics say it is ‘neo-colonialism’ which aims to subjugate sovereign African states.
Though Niger got its independence in the 1960s, France still plays an influential role in the country — thereby playing a monopoly-game to tap its natural resources. Since the discovery of uranium in Niger, a major chunk of the ore has been exclusively exported to France for over 40 years by Areva, the state-owned nuclear power company of France.
In the northern part of the country, pastoralist communities like the ethnic Tuareg have survived on their livestock for generations. But the present generation of Tuareg are not that fortunate as their forefathers.
“The air, water and land are polluted around the mining towns”, reports a journalist based in the Nigerien capital of Niamey, on the condition of anonymity. “And the animals of the pastoralists are constantly falling sick due to their grazing pastures being contaminated with radioactive dust”, he further adds.
Tuareg Declare Independent State in Mali (Gaddafi Mercenaries) | @BooMan - April 2012 |
North Africa, Sahel and Maghreb – Chaos after Western (Military) Intervention | @BooMan - June 2015 |
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