French President Francois Hollande recognized the environmental and health impacts of nuclear tests conducted for 30 years in French Polynesia, saying that the compensation process for victims will be reviewed.
"I recognize that the nuclear tests carried out between 1966 and 1996 in French Polynesia had an environmental impact [and] provoked health consequences," French media Tuesday quoted Hollande as saying during a visit to Tahiti.
Soldiers and civilians who worked close to the site of the 193 atomic tests have sought compensation for the dangers they were exposed to - including heightened levels of radiation - for years. But the compensation process, which started in 2010, has been marred by delays and limited payouts to applicants.
"Without French Polynesia, France would not now have nuclear weapons, and thus the force of deterrence," Hollande said.
He was visiting Tahiti before continuing his state trip to Latin America, with planned visits to Argentina, Uruguay and Peru.