Fresh plea to clean up Almeria's nuclear wasteland

RADIOACTIVE: The ecologists appealed to the court over nuclear waste in Palomares RADIOACTIVE: The ecologists appealed to the court over nuclear waste in Palomares Greenpeace.org

A GROUP of Almeria environmentalists have called on Spain’s National Court to push for a deadline for the cleanup of radioactive waste from the town of Palomares.

The Ecologists in Action group said in a letter to the court that it should ask the country’s Nuclear Safety Council to move forward with clearing the debris.

The waste fell from a United States (US) Air Force plane carrying four thermonuclear bombs crashed in mid-air in 1966 in what was later dubbed the Palomares Incident.

The environmentalists were responding to claims made before the National Court by lawyers acting for the Spanish government.

They argued that a cleanup plan drawn up with the US in 2010 was now completed “down to the last detail” and would be undertaken within the next three years.

The plan is set to see some 50,000 cubic metres due to be temporarily stored in Spain before being moved to the US.

The ecologists said cleanup efforts up until now had been made up of the “clandestine” burial of thousands which they claimed broke environmental rules.

The group added the National Court should order the original 2010 plan to be implemented and not one agreed in 2015 which revised the amount down to 28,000 cubic metres.

The cleanup of radioactive waste in Palomares dates back to 1966 when an US warplane crashed in while refuelling, dropping its payload of four nuclear bombs on Almeria.

The bombs did not go off but spewed radioactive waste across the Palomares area on impact.

Parts of the town remain restricted and contaminated. Several court cases have been launched by residents over health claims.

Joe Gerrard

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