Just got this in my inbox and thought, not unexpected, really !!

French nuclear tests 'showered vast area of Polynesia withradioactivity'


Declassified papers show extent of plutoniumfall-out from South Pacific tests of 60s and 70s was kept hidden, says Frenchpaper

Tahiti, above, was exposed to 500 times theaccepted maximum radiation level from nuclear tests in the 20th century,reports Le Parisien.
French nuclear tests in the SouthPacific in the and hit a vast swath of Polynesia withradioactive fallout, according to newly declassified ministry of defencedocuments which have angered veterans and civilians' groups.
The papers, seen by the French paper LeParisien, reportedly reveal that plutonium fallout hit the wholeof French Polynesia, a much broader area than France had previouslyadmitted. Tahiti , above, the most populated island, was exposed to500 times the maximum accepted levels of radiation. The impact spread asfar as the tourist island, Bora Bora .
Thousands of veterans, families and civiliansstill fighting for compensation over health issues have insisted France nowreveals the full truth about the notorious tests whose impact was kept secetfor decades.
From 1960 to 1996, France carried out210 nuclear tests, 17 in the Algerian Sahara and 193 in French Polynesiain the South Pacific, symbolised by the images of a mushroom cloud overthe Mururoa atoll. For decades, France argued that the controlledexplosions were clean.Jacques Chirac, the French president,controversially resumed nuclear atoll explosions in the South Pacific shortlyafter being elected in 1995.
Le Parisien said the documents "liftedthe lid on one of the biggest secrets of the French army". It said papersshowed that on 17 July 1974, a test exposed Tahiti to 500 times themaximum allowed level of plutonium fallout.
Bruno Barillot, who has investigated theimpacts of the nuclear tests for the Polynesian government, complained of thehigh levels of thyroid cancers and leukaemia in Polynesia . He said thedeclassified documents revealed Tahiti had "literally been showered withplutonium for two days" during the Mururoa test; from the outset France knewthe impact spread further than it publicly admitted. But of the2,050 pages declassified, 114 remained blacked out.
Richard Oldham, a member of the Polynesianuclear workers' association Mururoa e Tatou, told Radio New Zealand International :"It's the right for our future generations to know what hashappened in this country."
In 2006 a French medical research body foundnuclear testing had caused an increase in cancer onthe nearest inhabited islands. The French judiciary began investigating healthimplications. It was not until 2010 that France acknowledged that there couldbe a compensation process for veterans and civilians. But that is complex andlimited to a small geographical area and certain ailments.
About 150,000 veterans and civilians workedon, or were present during, nuclear tests, including 127,000 in Polynesia . Butof 800 dossiers, only 11 people have received compensation.
Troops who worked on the tests havedescribed a staggering lack of precautionfor workers. During the Mururoa tests in French Polynesia in thelate 1960s, one veteran described how he was stationed in shorts and a T-shirton a boat only about 15 miles from the explosion before having to sailimmediately to the area of the vast mushroom cloud to examine the damage.
Others on different tests wore shorts and hadno sunglasses; they were told simply to shield their eyes and turn their backsat the time of the explosion.
Source from the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/03/french-nuclear-tests-polynesia-declassifiedc