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French activists take message of abolition to NPT prepcom meeting

A representative from the French anti-nuclear network, Sortir du nucléaire, delivered a strong nuclear weapons abolition message at the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference at the United Nations in New York, May 2-9, particularly in light of the French development of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, the M51. (Photo at left shows protests at the M51 facility. Photo courtesy of Éric Baisson and the "No to the M51 Missile Coalition). The May 2009 conference was in preparation for the 2010 NPT review conference. Alain Rivat of the French network, in a prepared statement (in English), pointed out that France is in violation of the NPT - which calls on nuclear weapons states to disarm - in developing both the M51 and the MegaJoule, a laser that can simulate nuclear weapons tests. France also played an influential role in securing the U.S.-India deal which allows India to develop civilian nuclear technology even though it is an "unofficial" nuclear weapons state that is not a signatory to the NPT. Furthermore, France is in violation of the tenets of the treaty by exporting reprocessing technology which separates plutonium from irradiated reactor fuel, a clear proliferation risk.