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Moruroa e Tatou (French Nuclear Weapons Test Veterans)
2 July 2002
On July 2nd 1966, France conducted its first nuclear test on the Moruroa atoll, an atmospheric test that was to be followed by another 45 as well as by 147 underground tests in the atolls of Moruroa and Fangataufa. July 2nd 2002 is the 36th anniversary of that sad event.
The association Moruroa e Tatou was founded on July 4th 2001. To this day, it has over 1000 members, all of whom are former test workers in Moruroa and Fangataufa. On the occasion of this anniversary, the association would like to remind that all former test workers have suffered serious prejudice as a consequence of their working on the test sites: a number of them have died prematurely and a larger number still suffer serious health problems, cancers and other illnesses. Moruroa e tatou also want to draw the attention of the authorities responsible on the hygienic risks the populations of Polynesia were exposed to, and particularly the inhabitants of the islands and atolls located in the vicinity of the former test sites.
Since July 2001, the Polynesian former test workers are no longer isolated, as the Association of the Veterans of the Nuclear Test has been founded in France. This association has now over 700 members, all French former workers - both civilians and from the army - in the Sahara and in Polynesia. An investigation on their health has revealed that 85% of them have health problems. 32% of them have cancer, although the average incidence of cancer in France is no higher than 17%. These data corroborate those already known for the members of Moruroa e tatou.
On July 20th, the Association Moruroa e tatou will hold its first general assembly at the Youth House of the Arue parish. Many foreign guests will be there, experts in the follow up on the consequences of the nuclear tests on health, like: Professor Al Rowland, University of Massey, New Zealand: Doctor Jean/Louis Valatx, a researcher at INSERM, France; Mrs Lyn Allison, a Senator in Australia; Mr. Bruno Barrillot, researcher and Director of the Centre of Documentation and Research on Peace and Conflicts in Lyon; Mr. Paul Ahpoi, Fijian veteran and Vice-President of the Fiji Nuclear Test Veterans Association; a Japanese delegation representing the Associations of victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Pastor Jean-Arnold from Clermont, and the President of the French Protestant Federation.
On August 5th, the eve of the commemoration of the bombing in Hiroshima in 1945, a large conference will be held in Hiroshima about the consequences of the French nuclear tests. Three delegates of the Association Moruroa et Tatou, together with delegates of the French and the Algerian associations will bear testimony of their experience as test site workers and will make an appeal to the leaders of nuclear powers. Together they will appeal to the heads of states for them to give up definitively their nuclear arsenal and to accept accountability towards all those workers, the military and the civil population - whom they deliberately exposed to bombing and nuclear fallout.
John Doom, Papeete, Tahiti