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France goes back to its restrictive nuclear compensation law affecting Polynesian nuclear test survivors

French legislature resets tighter nuclear compensation law,    The French legislature has again tightened the law for those seeking compensation for ill health because of the nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia.

The new law reintroduces the need for every claimant to prove a minimum exposure to radiation for a compensation claim to be accepted.

It was approved by a joint commission of the National Assembly and the Senate which met after last week’s rejection of the text in the Senate.

The National Assembly had earlier voted for the law, and in a first reading, the Senate had initially also approved it but then acceded to amendments.

The French Polynesian members of the legislature have not been in Paris since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and couldn’t take part in the discussion of the proposed law.

The compensation law clause defining the minimum exposure had been removed in 2017 because almost all compensation claims kept being rejected.

However, in 2018 the government changed its mind and reintroduced the restrictions as part of a finance act to complement a health act.

This was challenged and in February, the supreme court ruled that compensation claims lodged before the 2018 law change were not subject to the new terms.

With the new law, however, all outstanding claims have to meet the same requirements.

Between 1966 to 1996, France carried out 193 nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia and until a decade ago, France claimed its tests were clean caused no harm to humans.

The test sites of Moruroa and Fangataufa remain excised from French Polynesia and are French no-go zones.

June 4, 2020 Posted by | France, Legal, OCEANIA | Leave a comment


Prohibition of Nuclear weapons treaty ratified

Koroi Tadulala, Multimedia | @Koroi, FBCNews 29 May 20

May 30, 2020 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

During pandemic, U.S. military runs the largest maritime war games in the world

COVID-19: US Military Pursues War Games Amid Contagion, Consortium News, May 26, 2020  A robust schedule of military maneuvers and exercises is either underway or planned for Europe and the Pacific this year, with more in store for 2021, Ann Wright reports.   During the pandemic the U.S. military is running the largest maritime military maneuvers in the world, with Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) coming to the waters off Hawaii Aug. 17-31, bringing 26 nations, 25,000 military personnel, up to 50 ships and submarines and hundreds of aircraft.Hawaii hasstringent measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, with a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all persons arriving in the state; returning residents as well as visitors. This quarantine is required until at least June 30, 2020.

The U.S. Army is also pursuing a 6,000-person war game in Poland, June 5-19, with a Polish airborne operation and a U.S.-Polish division-size river crossing.

If these weren’t too many military operations during an epidemic in which personnel on 40 U.S. Navy ships have come down with the hyper-contagious virus and during which military personnel and their families have been told not to travel, plans are also underway  for a U.S. Army division-sized exercise in the Indo-Pacific region  in less than a year.  Known as Defender 2021, the U.S. Army has requested $364 million to conduct the war exercises throughout Asian and Pacific countries.

The pivot to the Pacific, begun under the Obama administration, and maintained by the Trump administration, is reflected in a U.S. National Defense Strategy (NDS) that sees the world as “a great power competition rather than counterterrorism and has formulated its strategy to confront China as a long-term, strategic competitor.”

Earlier in May, the U.S. Navy sent at least seven submarines, including all four Guam-based attack submarines, several Hawaii-based ships and the San Diego-based USS Alexandria to the western Pacific in what the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force announced as simultaneous “contingency response operations” for all of its forward-deployed subs. This was all in support of the Pentagon’s “free and open Indo-Pacific ” policy — aimed at countering China’s expansionism in the South China Sea — and as a show of force to counter ideas that the capabilities of U.S. Navy forces have been reduced by Covid-19…….

In May, 2020, the Australian government announced that a delayed six-month rotation of 2,500 U.S. Marines to a military base in Australia’s northern city of Darwin will go ahead based on strict adherence to Covid-19 measures including a 14-day quarantine. The Marines had been scheduled to arrive in April but their arrival was postponed in March because of the pandemic.

The remote Northern Territory, which had recorded just 30 Covid-19 cases, closed its borders to international and interstate visitors in March, and any arrivals must now undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days.  U.S. Marine deployments to Australia began in 2012 with 250 personnel and have grown to 2,500.    The Joint U.S. Defense facility Pine Gap— the U.S. Department of Defense, Five Eyes and CIA surveillance facility that pinpoints airstrikes around the world and targets nuclear weapons, among other military and intelligence tasks — was also adapting its policy and procedures to comply with Australian government COVID restrictions.

As the U.S. military expands its presence in Asia and the Pacific, one place it will NOT be returning to is Wuhan, China.  In October 2019, the Pentagon sent 17 teams with more than 280 athletes and other staff members to the Military World Games in Wuhan. Over 100 nations sent a total of 10,000 military personnel to the games in Wuhan last October.

The presence of a large U.S. military contingent in Wuhan just months before the outbreak of the Covid-19 in Wuhan in December 2019, fueled a theory by some Chinese officials that the U.S. military was somehow involved in the outbreak, which now has been used by the Trump administration and its allies in Congress and the media that the Chinese deliberately used the virus to infect the world and adding justification for the U.S. military build-up in the Pacific region.

Ann Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves and retired as a colonel.   She was a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and served in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.  She resigned from the U.S. government in March 2003 in opposition to President George W. Bush’s war on Iraq. She is co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.”

May 28, 2020 Posted by | health, OCEANIA, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power policy now a low priority for Philippines govt

May 21, 2020 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

A moment of reckoning – when coronavirus meets climate change

May 19, 2020 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

French government tries to downgrade radiation risk, avoid compensating Polynesian victims of nuclear testing

Outrage in Tahiti over French nuclear law moves,  There has been an outcry in French Polynesia over moves by the French National Assembly to slip a clause about compensation over nuclear weapons testing into Covid-19 legislation.

A French Polynesian member of the French Assembly Moetai Brotherson said it was a scandal that this was added into deliberations when French Polynesia’s members were away from Paris because of the pandemic.

The nuclear test veterans organisations, Moruroa e tatou and Association 193, also expressed outrage.

The French government wants to re-introduce the concept of neglible risk of the tests in compensation cases after a court ruling had done away with it.

Over a 30-year period of France’s weapons tests in the South Pacific some of the atmospheric blasts irradiated most islands.

Mr Brotherson said he had only just heard about the National Assembly move and wondered what the French Polynesian people had ever done to be so detested by the French state.

Hiro Tefaarere of Moruroa e tatou said he was outraged but not surprised about the way France was going about it.

He said all presidents, from de Gaulle to Macron, couldn’t care less about Polynesians, and although France was responsible for public health in Tahiti it failed to keep a register to see how many people died because of fallout from the weapons tests.

Auguste Uebe Carlson, who heads Association 193, said France kept refusing to recognise the impact of the tests, using instead propaganda to say they were clean or a thing of the past.

He said nothing was recognised, with health problems now being attributed to poor diet and life-style choices.

ast year, French Polynesia’s social security agency calculated that it had so far spent $US770 million on health care costs for people deemed to have radiation-induced illnesses.

May 18, 2020 Posted by | France, OCEANIA, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change: lakes and rivers will become drier, increasingly infectious and toxic

Climate change: lakes and rivers will become drier, increasingly infectious and toxic, Stuff NZ, Olivia Wannan, Apr 30 2020  

By dragging our feet on climate action, we increasingly condemn our beloved lakes and rivers to a future of salmonella contamination, algal blooms, species extinctions and drying out, a new report warns.

Our Freshwater 2020, produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics NZ, is a stark reminder that the already-threatened health of our waterways rests on our ability to urgently shift away from fossil fuels.

Even if emissions stay at historically low levels, temperatures will continue to rise in the coming decades, due to the lag between releasing greenhouse gas and the effects on our atmosphere, seas and waterways.

As the climate warms, rain storms will intensify, snowfall will decrease, glaciers will melt, soils will dry out and the sea level will rise – each affecting our lakes and rivers.

In the east, regions such as Hawke’s Bay will see increasingly low waterways by the end of the century, says Ministry for the Environment departmental science advisor Dr Alison Collins.

In the west – particularly in the South Island – rivers and lake levels are expected to rise, potentially leading to flooding.

After extreme downpours, drinking water and swimming spots are at high risk of being contaminated with infectious tummy bugs such as salmonella and harmful strains of E.coli, she says. Northern and remote eastern communities with less-developed water supply systems are particularly vulnerable.

Toxic algal blooms will become more common, as warmer temperatures reduce the mixing between upper and lower levels of deep lakes, boosting nutrient levels at the surface and algal growth. Without the waters mixing, the lake bottom is also deprived of oxygen, which drives out animals such as crayfish (kōura) and mussels (kākahi).

Combined with pollution and habitat loss, climate change is likely to push some freshwater species – both native and introduced – to extinction, the report says. ……

April 30, 2020 Posted by | climate change, New Zealand | Leave a comment

With the threat of Covid 9, nuclear test affected Pacific Islanders need Medicaid restored

Lawmakers push to restore Medicaid for islanders affected by nuclear tests  

Islanders were given coverage after U.S. nuclear-weapons tests drove them from their homes, but lost it in the 1996 welfare reform.   By DAN DIAMOND, 04/17/2020

Alarmed by the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, lawmakers are urging congressional leaders to restore health coverage for tens of thousands of uninsured Pacific Islanders who were promised Medicaid after U.S. nuclear weapons testing but lost coverage in the 1996 welfare reform bill.

“We are in the middle of a national crisis that is unlike anything we’ve ever faced. Stopping the spread of the virus begins with ensuring that everyone has access to health care,” said Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), who’s leading the bipartisan effort with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). “We have ignored this problem for too long, and it is time we fixed it.”

The United States promised that residents of the Marshall Islands, Palau and Micronesia would have access to Medicaid through a 1986 pact known as the Compact of Free Association, or COFA — about four decades after the U.S. conducted dozens of nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands that have been linked to myriad cancers and other health problems. However, the 1996 U.S. Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act stripped the islanders of their access to Medicaid, a decision described as a legislative oversight.

Cárdenas, Hirono and colleagues like GOP Reps. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and Don Young (R-Alaska) urged congressional leaders on Wednesday to use the next coronavirus stimulus package to restore Medicaid for the 61,000-plus islanders who live in the United States.

“As the United States confronts the Covid-19 pandemic, it is vital that individuals in our communities can access testing and treatment so they can care for themselves and help prevent additional transmission of the virus,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter shared with POLITICO.

April 18, 2020 Posted by | health, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Marshall islanders continue their fight for nuclear justice

Fight for nuclear justice continues in the Marshall Islands 3 March 2020

The fight for nuclear justice continues in the Marshall Islands where people have been gathering to call for the US to atone for its legacy of testing.The country marked National Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day on Monday, the 64th anniversary of the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test that exposed thousands of people to downwind effects.At a ceremony in the capital, Majuro, a tribute was paid to 22 living survivors from the communities affected by the nuclear testing.

This comes as the Marshall Islands and the United States have begun preliminary talks on a new agreement to address the legacy of testing.

The compact of free association, which guarantees relations and funding for the Marshalls from the US, expires in two years.

Last year, it was revealed the US withheld information about nuclear waste it left behind when the Marshalls gained independence, and the extent of the tests it carried out.

Washington previously said there would be no replacement compact. But the chair of the Marshall Islands Nuclear Commission, Rhea Moss-Christian, said nuclear issues were a key, ongoing aspect of negotiations.

“Well we are coming up on renegotiating the economic provisions of the compact, and we’ve had some initial discussions with the US officials.

“So yes internally we are working on our strategy and pulling together all the key issues to include in those negotiations, including the nuclear legacy.”

Ms Moss-Christian, who said formal talks should start later in the year, vowed that the fight for nuclear justice for Marshall Islanders would continue.

“Really it comes down to compensation for loss of land. It’s about health care for those who might be having medical issues,” she said.

“It’s about livelihoods and how much their lifestyles were forced to change when they were moved from their land. These are just a few examples.”

Meanwhile, an essay competition for high schoolers was held as part of Monday’s commemoration programme.

The winner was a senior at Marshall Islands High School on Majuro, Rosie Ammontha, who wrote:

“They had the choice to test those bombs, we didn’t. They had the choice to be truthful about the consequences that awaited us, we didn’t. They had the choice not to endanger innocent lives, we didn’t. They had the choice to help protect our oceans and environment, we didn’t. At the end of the day, nuclear justice means righting what was wronged.”

March 5, 2020 Posted by | legal, OCEANIA | 2 Comments

Catholic prelate calls on President Duterte to reject nuclear energy

Prelate urges Duterte to nix proposal to use nuclear energy in PH

By Leslie Ann Aquino   A Catholic prelate has called on President Duterte to reject the proposal to use nuclear energy in the country.

“I am greatly concerned with the proposed Executive Order that is said to be drafted by (Department of Energy or DOE) Secretary Al Cusi which would include nuclear power in our energy mix,” San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said in a statement.

“We urge President Duterte not to sign this Executive Order and instead remind Sec. Cusi to make renewable energy our primary source of electricity.”

The vice chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) said the disasters in Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima are “sorrowful reminders” of the risks of nuclear power that Filipinos need not be exposed to.

The prelate asked Duterte to stand firm on his previous directive to the DOE to promote renewable energy, which is a cheaper and safer source of energy.

“We hope and pray that President Duterte will not turn back on his word in the 2019 SONA (State of the Nation Address) which charged the DOE with the task of promoting renewable energy,” Alminaza said.

“This is what would truly be beneficial for our people, and would also serve as a concrete act of care for our Common Home.”

On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters that Duterte will be studying the proposed inclusion of nuclear power in the Philippines’ energy mix.

March 5, 2020 Posted by | Philippines, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Nuclear power a very bad option for the Philippines

Greenpeace: Proposal to add nuclear to country’s energy mix ‘plain irresponsible, irrational’  Gaea Katreena Cabico ( – March 4, 2020 MANILA, Philippines — The inclusion of nuclear power in the Philippines’ energy mix will only bring more problems and debt to Filipinos, an environmental organization said as it urged the government to reject the proposal of the Energy department.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi sought President Rodrigo Duterte’s nod for a proposed executive order to add nuclear power to the country’s energy sources, Malacañang said Tuesday.Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Cusi claimed that tapping nuclear power can help solve the country’s energy gap.’

According to environmental group Greenpeace Philippines, there is no rational reason for the Energy department to push a nuclear power agenda.

“Nuclear power is the most dangerous source of electricity and throughout their life cycle, nuclear plants contribute significantly to climate change. In other parts of the world, nuclear facilities are being decommissioned and phased out from energy plan,” Greenpeace campaigner Khevin Yu said.

From the 1960s until the mid 1980s, Ferdinand Marcos adopted a nuclear energy program and built the Bataan Nuclear Plant, called by critics the “monster” of Morong town. It was mothballed after President Corazon Aquino assumed office in 1986 due to safety concerns.

Nuclear power a costly option

Yu also said that nuclear is the most costly option for power generation.

In 2003, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimated the cost of a plant without financing would be US$2,000 per kilowatt. In their updated study released in 2009, the estimated cost was at US$4,000.

“Nuclear power will bring more problems and debt to the Filipino people,” Yu said, adding that pushing it as an energy source is “plain irresponsible and irrational.”

Safety concerns

Another big issue is the absence of safe and permanent storage of radioactive spent fuel, Yu said.

In 2018, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute Director Carlo Arcilla stressed the need to put forward radioactive waste management for discussion.

“It’s (nuclear power development) like putting up a mansion without toilets if you’re not talking of radioactive wastes,” Arcilla said then.

Duterte in 2018 said safety should be the priority when deciding whether to tap nuclear energy for the power needs of Filipinos.

Focus on renewable energy instead……

March 5, 2020 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

Veterans groups not happy -France wants to abolish the National Commission for Monitoring the Consequences of Nuclear Tests.

Dismay over plans to scrap French nuclear monitoring commission 2 March 2020 Nuclear test veterans groups in French Polynesia have reacted with dismay at reports that Paris wants to abolish the National Commission for Monitoring the Consequences of Nuclear Tests.

Last week, the French publication Canard Enchaine reported that as part of administrative changes and cost-cutting measures, dozens of commissions would be disestablished.

The commission is the body bringing together state authorities, representatives of the French Polynesian government and veterans associations to work on the list of radiation-induced illnesses deemed to be relevant for compensation.

The head of the group Moruroa e tatou Hiro Tefaarere has told the broadcaster La Premiere the move was inadmissible yet not surprising for the Macron government.

He said the French president on one hand described colonialism as a crime against humanity and on the other everything was suppressed which would recognise the consequences of the tests.

France carried out more than 190 nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific and until 2010 maintained that they were clean and posed no threat to human health.

French Polynesia’s president has reportedly raised his concerns in a letter to the French prime minister.

March 3, 2020 Posted by | France, OCEANIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Algeria and French Polynesia suffer from France’s 30 years of nuclear bomb testing

Questions Remain as France Marks 60 Years Since Nuclear Tests, VOA,  19 Feb 20, This month, France marks the 60th anniversary of nuclear weapons tests that made the country one of the world’s first nuclear powers. But critics claim more than 30 years of testing in Algeria and French Polynesia left many suffering from the effects of harmful radiation.On February 13, 1960, France held its first nuclear test in Algeria’s southern Sahara desert. “Hurray for France,” then-French President Charles de Gaulle wrote at the time.

But Jean-Claude Hervieux has other memories. He joined the French testing efforts in Algeria as an electrician. He remembers a nuclear test in 1962 that did not go according to plan.

Radioactive dust and rock escaped from underground. Hervieux and others observing the testing ran for shelter. Two French ministers were among them. The group washed themselves in a military housing area to decontaminate.

France held more than 200 nuclear tests until a later president, Jacques Chirac, ended testing in 1996. Most tests took place in French Polynesia. But 17 took place in Algeria between 1960 and 1966, ending four years after Algeria’s independence from France.

Brahim Oumansour is a North Africa expert at the French Institute of International Relations in Paris. He said, “It’s part of the whole issue of decolonization and Algerians in general asking for recognition of colonization crimes.” He added that official recognition and financial compensation for the Algerian tests could cost millions of dollars.

Hervieux spent 10 years working on nuclear test areas in Algeria and later French Polynesia. Now 80 and living in France’s Lyon area, he says he is physically fine. But he used to receive some questionable radioactive testing results from the French government……

France’s nuclear compensation commission, CIVEN, said more than 1,600 claims have been filed under a 2010 French law that finally recognized health problems related to the testing.

Only about one-third have met the requirements needed to receive financial benefits. The requirements include about 24 possible radiation-related cancers. Almost all the claims came from France and French Polynesia. Of the 51 claims from Algeria, only one has been compensated….

February 20, 2020 Posted by | France, health, legal, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Polynesian MP calls on France for “vast project” to withdraw radioactive waste in Mururoa

February 10, 2020 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian bushfire smoke across the Pacific shows how French nuclear tests spread radiation

Tahiti leader says impact of Australian fires backs nuclear claims,

French Polynesia’s pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru says the smoke from Australia’s bushfires is concrete evidence that fallout from nuclear tests affected islands such as Tahiti. fallout from nuclear tests affected islands such as Tahiti.

fallout from nuclear tests affected islands such as Tahiti.    Smoke from Australia this month drifted over the south of French Polynesia after crossing New Zealand.

Mr Temaru said this was more than proof that fallout from France’s atmospheric nuclear weapons tests at Moruroa spread while France maintained they didn’t affect Tahiti.

He again called on France to tell the full truth about this dark chapter of history.

Until 1974 France detonated 46 atomic bombs over Moruroa and Fangataufa before continuing the tests with underground blasts.

France maintained until a decade ago that its nuclear tests were clean and posed no risk to human health.

A law brought in in 2010 offered compensation but its criteria were widely seen as too narrow because most applications by those suffering poor health were thrown out.

Its revision was changed again, leaving veterans organisations still dismayed.  Mr Temaru made the comments as his Tavini Huiraatira party campaigned for the March municipal election.

However, Mr Temaru is yet to say whether he will seek re-election to the mayoralty of Faaa which he has held since 1983.

Among the candidates known so far are two assembly members of the ruling Tapura Huiraatira party.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, weapons and war | Leave a comment