Palomares nuclear memories

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Photo by Marshall Astor

AN ECOLOGICAL society has held a conference to remember the 50th anniversary of the Palomares nuclear accident in Almeria province and conducted research into the lingering effects of the catastrophe.

Ecologistas en Accion gathered together a panel of experts to discuss the causes and consequences of the event which occurred on January 17 1966 when a B-52G bomber from the US Air Force collided with a tanker during mid-air fuelling at 31,000 feet over the Mediterranean. The bomber was carrying four hydrogen bombs, three of which landed in the small fishing village, with two exploding non-nuclear material around the area, resulting in plutonium contamination.

Declared one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters, the incident caused a furore in the Spanish press, with the US Ambassador to Spain swimming in a Mojacar beach in an attempt to defuse alarm.

Ecologistas en Accion attorney Jose Ignacio Dominguez claimed “It is remarkable that nowadays there is still contamination outside the fenced area” and also showed reports which “prove that the coast area is 20 times more contaminated by plutonium than the rest of the Mediterranean”.

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