The French Polynesia Assembly is preparing to ask Francois Holland’s government for nearly a billion dollars in compensation for damage caused to the islands by nuclear weapons tests.
Conservative anti-independence Tahoera’a Huiraatira party committee has apparently taken issue with the French testing regime that saw 210 nuclear tests conducted from 1966 to 1996 off secluded atolls in the south Pacific.
The committee, which is acting independently of Polynesian President Edouard Fritch, is asking for 930 million US dollars for environmental damage, according to daily Polynesian newspaper La Depeche de Tahiti.
In addition, the proposed resolution also seeks an additional 132 million for the continued occupation of the Fangataufa and Mururoa atolls.
France detonated its first thermonuclear weapon off the Fangataufa atoll in 1968, after ruling out other locations – such as the Sahara – and the decision was broadly accepted by the Polynesian public at the time.
Last year declassified French defence documents exposed that the islands had been hit with far more radiation than previously supposed. Tahiti - the most populated island - was exposed to 500 times more radiation than recommended.
In pictures: The Nuclear Security Summit 2014
In pictures: The Nuclear Security Summit 2014
1/17 The waiters who got the job
The male waiters prepare the plenary table during a break at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 25, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands
2/17 The official group shot
The heads of the delegations pose for an official group photo at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 25, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands
3/17 Talk amongst yourselves
US President Barack Obama waves next to Chinese President Xi Jinping as they pose for a family picture with other world leaders, ministers and heads of international organisations on the second day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on March 25, 2014
4/17 Angela Merkel and Sauli Niinisto
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at an informal plenary at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit
5/17 The opening session
The opening session of the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands.
6/17 Barack Obama and Mark Rutte
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte following a press conference at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague on March 25, 2014 at the end of the Nuclear Security Summit
7/17 The empty chair
German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks at the empty seat of the US president in The Hague on March 25, 2014 on the second day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit
8/17 Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Mark Rutte
South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane greets Dutch Foreign Minister Mark Rutte at The World Forum in The Hague on March 24, 2014 on the first day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit
9/17 View on the opening
A general view of the opening session of the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands
10/17 Helle Thorning Schmidt
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt arrives for meetings on the second day of the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 25, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands.
11/17 Park Geun-hye and Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama speaks next to South Korean President Park Geun-hye during a trilateral meeting with the Japanese prime minister at the US ambassador's residence in The Hague on March 25, 2014 after they attended the Nuclear Security Summit
12/17 Federica Mogherini and Mark Rutte
Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini speaks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during a session on the second day of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on March 25, 2014
13/17 Julie Bishop
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop leaves at the end of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on March 25, 2014
14/17 Ban Ki-moon and Barack Obama
President Barack Obama chats with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon following the group photo at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 25, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands
15/17 Erna Solberg and Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, left, and Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, were two of the seven female leaders present at the summit.
16/17 The G7
The G7 countries took the opportunity to discuss the recent developments in Ukraine during the Nuclear Security Summit. From left to right: President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minster David Cameron, U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso
17/17 The royals and Dalia Grybauskaite
Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima greet Lithuania President Dalia Grybauskaite (right), at the Royal Palace Huis ten Bosch in The Hague, Netherlands, 24 March 2014
In 2006 a French medical body found the increase of cancer on the islands were caused by nuclear testing. The French government only acknowledged veterans and survivors in 2010 that they would be legible for compensation - but warned the process would be long and complex thanks to the distribution of the islands.
Environmentally, the islands appear to have been badly affected by the testing. However, for years many scientists and researchers were refused entry to the islands and to this day much of the data on the proliferation of waste remains incomplete or unavailable.
In 1998 one report indicated that more than 3,200 tonnes of various types of radioactive waste had been poured into the Pacific ocean, sinking to depths of 1,000 metres off the coast of Mururoa and Hao island.
Marcel Tuihani, a protégé of the founder of the anti-independence Tahoera’a party Gaston Flosse, is leading the claim.
On Friday Mr Flosse was invited by the chairman of the meeting to work for the commission as a “qualified expert”.
The politician, who is affectionately referred to be in local media as the ‘Old Lion’, was convicted of corruption in 2006 and given a three-months suspended sentence during which time he neither resigned nor gave up his seat in the Polynesian senate. He was reelected to the Senate in 2008.
French Polynesia is an overseas collective of French Republic and is located south of Hawaii in the South Pacific Ocean. Among its 118 islands, 67 are inhabited. Tahiti is the most populous island and contains the capital Pape’ete.Reuse content