FS Arago to Study Mururoa Atoll Nuclear Test Area

May 15, 2020 (Google Translation) – From April 29 to May 3, 2020, patrol boat Arago conducted a series of support operations for the benefit of the Pacific Experimentation Center, on the atolls of Fangataufa and Mururoa.

At Fangataufa, a large reconnaissance operation of the island’s topographic network, installed to monitor the geomechanical developments of the atoll, mobilized the entire crew over a full day. The information collected made it possible to update the cartography on the one hand of the pillars of topographical surveys of the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission (CEA), and on the other hand of the communication axes on the island. To end this day, a color ceremony took place on the Quai Frégate.

Secondly, in Mururoa, the Arago’s on-board diving team conducted inspection dives of well heads to collect groundwater. During these two days of work, they tested the use of the CEA underwater drone, which offers new perspectives in terms of immersion and data collection.

The Army detachment, responsible for monitoring the sites, gave a warm welcome to the sailors of Arago and introduced them to the key places of this strategic site for nuclear deterrence.

From 1966 to 1996, the atolls of Fangataufa and Mururoa hosted the tests of the Pacific experimental center. Since the end of the nuclear tests, the radiological, biological and geomechanical surveillance of the dismantled sites has been an essential mission of the armed forces in French Polynesia (FAPF). Since 2000, an army detachment has been responsible for monitoring sites and controlling access.

The Turbo mission, conducted each year by a National Navy building for the benefit of the CEA, makes it possible to carry out biological samples of the environment and to make an inventory of fixtures on certain installations in Fangataufa and Mururoa. Canceled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Arago was called upon as part of its Pacific Aito mission [link to short] to carry out part of the operations initially planned.

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