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French MPs urge Macron to provide data about nuclear waste buried in Algeria

French President, Emmanuel Macron speaks during a joint news conference with the President of the Council of Ministers of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki (not seen) prior to talks at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on 17 March 2021. [Julien Mattia - Anadolu Agency]
French President, Emmanuel Macron speaks during a joint news conference with the President of the Council of Ministers of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki (not seen) prior to talks at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on 17 March 2021. [Julien Mattia - Anadolu Agency]

Nine French MPs have called on President Emmanuel Macron to provide data and maps about nuclear waste sites in Algeria, agencies reported yesterday. The French conducted nuclear tests in the Algerian Sahara in the 1960s.

"You now have the opportunity to take concrete action in favour of the civilians and the environment which continue to be affected by nuclear waste buried by France in the sands of the Algerian Sahara," the MPs told Macron. "You must seize it."

They pointed out that the fifth session of the Algerian-French high level intergovernmental committee, which should have held on 11 April, has been postponed indefinitely. The committee works to resolve historical disputes between France and Algeria.

In February, the MPs said, the sky over a large part of France had an orange hue which was the result of sand carried by strong winds from Algeria. "This meteorological episode reminded us once again that France has left an indelible radioactive imprint in the heart of the Sahara… Seventeen nuclear explosions were carried out in [Algeria] between 1960 and 1966, both above ground and underground, to test the French atomic bomb."

Key information is still missing about the waste for the most part buried in the sand, added the MPs. "Providing the details requested," they insisted, "will ensure the health and safety of the people living in the areas in question, protect future generations and take the necessary and appropriate measures for the restoration of the environment."

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