“The Pacific Ocean is the most nuclear-contaminated region in the world. It has been used by the United States, Britain and France as their prime testing ground for atomic weapons” The Pacific, Peace Security & The Nuclear Issue 1988.

Imagine a journey from the Pacific island paradises of Montebello, Kiribati to Bikini & Moruroa atolls. Required item, a Geiger counter, as these islands are still radioactive, having been used by the British, Americans and French for nuclear bomb testing! This “thermonuclear tour” takes veterans of the bomb tests from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and French Polynesia back to the Pacific to describe what they witnessed and the subsequent illnesses that they have suffered.

“We saw a bright light, it was as if someone had switched a firebar on in your head. It grew brighter and you could see the bones in your hands, like pink X-rays, in front of your closed eyes” Doug Hern,UK nuclear veteran 72

French President Sarkovsky is about to designate Mururoa, the site of more than 180 nuclear tests between 1966 and 1996 as a site of “remembrance and territorial pride”. A Greenpeace report stated “the interior of the atoll is effectively a vast, unregulated high-level radioactive waste dump”.
For thirty years successive French governments have lied about there being “no radioactive fallout from French tests or leakage of radioactivity into the lagoons” Many Polynesians will be excluded from the compensation programme due to strict restrictions imposed by the French Senate.
Ironically the French misnamed the atoll Muroroa, the correct spelling of the island is Moruroa, which in local Mangarevan dialect means the place of great secrets!
Crew members from the “Fri”, a yacht that sailed into the danger zone around Moruroa atoll during a French bomb test in 1973 will recall their journey and in hindsight the effectiveness of their attempts to stop the testing.

The film will mix archive from the documentaries” Moruroa 1973,  A Nuclear Free Pacific” 1988 and “Hotu Painu”(Poisoned Fruit) with present day interviews and footage of  veterans and nuclear workers returning to the bomb test sites.
The Fallout from this history continues to-day. While the world watches Japan’s nuclear crisis, the South Pacific has its own worries amidst concern that a large part of Moruroa atoll is nearing collapse and will spill large amounts of radioactive plutonium in the ocean. Were it to collapse the prevailing currents would carry the radiation west towards the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.
Moruroa e Tatou( the French Polynesia Association of former French nuclear testing site workers) President Roland Oldham wrote to French Overseas Minister Marie-Luce Penchard in March 2011 saying” the nuclear era in French Polynesia is far from being over”. Her reply before leaving Tahiti and refusing to meet Moruroa e Tatou leader was “ I don’t want to hear anymore about a nuclear debt”. The legacy of this debt is still hidden in the lagoons, marine life and coral atolls of this most beautiful region of the planet- the South Pacific.

Producers:- Philip Shingler, “Western Exposure”/Pacific Stories Partnership UK, Alister Barry, Vanguard Film/Pacific Stories Partnership, Wellington, NZ & David Jacobs, Connected Media, Auckland, NZ.

This programme is currently in development as a co-production between UK & New Zealand/Australia and aims to go into production in 2015.