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Commission publishes draft report on French nuclear tests

The European Commission has published a draft report on the monitoring of environmental radioactivity in French Polynesia. Mrs. Ritt Bjerregaard, Commissioner responsible for the Environment and Nuclear Safety, stressed that the report is a draft document aimed at providing a ...
The European Commission has published a draft report on the monitoring of environmental radioactivity in French Polynesia. Mrs. Ritt Bjerregaard, Commissioner responsible for the Environment and Nuclear Safety, stressed that the report is a draft document aimed at providing a basis for discussions on French nuclear testing within the Commission and that it does not, therefore, contain the final Commission position on this issue.

The report was prepared in reaction to the widespread public concern over the environmental and health consequences of nuclear testing in French Polynesia. Commenting on the report, Mrs. Bjerregaard recognized that "This is the first time that the Commission has taken the provisions of the Euratom treaty so seriously (...) It is because of the widespread public concern (on this issue) that I have decided to make public the state of play of the Commission's examination at this early stage". She pointed out, however, that the report is not yet complete and that vital information is still lacking.

In a letter addressed to Mr. Barnier, the French Minister for European Affairs, Mrs. Bjerregaard expressed her regret that the first test of the latest series of French nuclear testing was undertaken before the Commission had received the relevant documentation and before the conclusion of discussions, between the French authorities and the Commission, concerning arrangements for a verification mission. She stressed that, under the terms of the Euratom Treaty, all relevant information on the surveillance systems and levels of radioactivity in the air, water and soil in French Polynesia should be submitted to the Commission. She further noted the Commission's interest in receiving the most recent data following the first test on 5 September 1995.

Mrs. Bjerregaard further reminded the French authorities that the Commission is still examining a complaint received regarding France's alleged breach of Article 34 of the Euratom Treaty. In order to facilitate assessment of this complaint, the French authorities were invited to provide information on various aspects of the nuclear testing, including:

- Present (and, possibly, future) health and safety measures for both the workers and the general population;
- Elements allowing the Commission to assess whether or not the new tests can be considered as "particularly dangerous experiments" and whether the effects of the nuclear tests are likely to affect the territories of other Member States.

This information should be submitted before any further tests take place.

DE
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