“Nuclear tests in Polynesia”: turning the pages of history in complete transparency

“Nuclear tests in French Polynesia: why, how, and with what consequences?”. This is the new work presented to the press this morning by the High Commissioner. A publication of the Atomic Energy Commission, intended to put the history of the tests into perspective and to recall the contribution of Polynesia and its population to French nuclear deterrence for thirty years.

updated on November 29, 2022 at 7:33 p.m.

It is the direct follow-up to the Reko Tika round table in Paris in 2021. Published by the CEA, the book claims to clarify the history of nuclear power in Polynesia. 2/3 of classified documents are now declassified, some of which are published in the book. A work of memory according to the Direction of the military applications, which plays transparency today. “We agreed to participate in the memory center which, for the moment, is not progressing at the speed we would like, and above all to declassify our archives, agree to write a work accessible by all and written for this purpose. there to explain the why, the how and the consequences”explains Vincenzo Salvetti, director of military applications at the CEA.

Through a historian, answers to several questions are addressed: what were these tests used for? What decision-making processes for the choice of Polynesia, chosen in 1962, to take over from Algeria after its independence? On this point, Reunion, or the Kerguelen had been considered…“The problem of Kerguelen is that the weather conditions are still very unfavorable. To install a site which is very far away, it was not at all feasible and then we realized that on a geological level, it It was very complicated to conduct trials in Kerguelen. There were several hypotheses before the choice was made on French Polynesia”specifies Dominique Mongin, historian.

Declassified military documents are disclosed in this book.

©Polynesia the 1st

In response to the assertions of the authors of the book “Toxique”, on an under-evaluation of radioactivity by the authorities, the CEA announces rigorously correct results, and evokes an “extrapolation of data which is in no way based on a method rigorous science”.
But the ultimate objective remains appeasement with the recognition of Polynesia’s contribution to France’s nuclear deterrent.

The book will be published in 5,000 copies. The digital version will be available on the High Commission’s website in early 2023.