Why the Polynesian island of Moruroa censored by Google
Eagle-eyed netizens have stumbled upon an island in French Polynesia that looks clear on one side, but blurry and hidden on the other.
There is something a little fishy about the photos of this remote tropical island on Google Maps.
Satellite imagery provided by the digital map service shows the left side of Mururoa in French Polynesia, but blurs the other half.
In place of satellite imagery is a bluish drop that hides everything below the users.
Moruroa is a small atoll in the southern Pacific Ocean.
It’s unclear why much of the island is censored, but some suspect it has to do with the island’s nuclear history.
France undertook major nuclear tests on the atoll between 1966 and 1996 – with no less than 181 tests carried out during this period.
Some of the explosions on the island are said to have been 200 times more powerful than the bombs dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.
A Greenpeace study found it contaminated water as far as Peru and New Zealand, with radiation levels of 12 millirems reported.
Not surprisingly, the island is off-limits to visitors.
Testing at the site ended in 1996 after then French President Jacques Chirac ordered the dismantling of nuclear test facilities.
Mr. Chirac said live on the radio that “the security of our country and our children is assured”.
For security reasons, the island is still guarded by French troops, which could explain why it is being scrambled by Google.
In 2018, the French government asked Google to remove all images of French prisons and other sensitive sites from the web.
The order followed a daring escape from a prison near Paris that involved a helicopter flying it into the courtyard.
It is believed that the notorious killer Redoine Faid and his accomplices used Google Maps to locate the layout of Reau prison.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission