Spain asks the U.S. to take back the plutonium contaminated lands from the Palomares nuclear accident

Spain asks the U.S. to take back the plutonium contaminated lands from the Palomares nuclear accident

Spain has asked the United States to take back the land contaminated with plutonium from the Palomares nuclear accident. Palomares nuclear accident, Almería, which occurred in 1966, in accordance with the political commitment that Madrid and Washington signed in 2015 for its transfer to the Nevada desert.

The Spanish government has reactivated the cleanup file of the Almeria municipality affected by the nuclear incident 57 years ago, according to a report published on Monday by the newspaper El Paísciting diplomatic sources.

After analyzing the said file in detail, “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has submitted to the United States the official request to proceed the withdrawal of the lands“.

The petition was filed a few months ago with the Secretary of State, who has transferred it to the. Department of Energy of the Administration. of Democrat Joe Biden. There is still no response from Washington, say the same sources, but the initial reception “has been positive”.

U.S. and Spanish military officials pose next to the B28RI hydrogen bomb, recovered off the coast of Palomares (Almeria), 18 days after the January 17, 1966 accident in the Spanish town, in which the U.S. Air Force lost a tanker plane, a strategic bomber and the nuclear weapons carried by the latter.

The clock is ticking, as there are only a few months left until the end of the legislature, but the sources consulted are optimistic about the possibility of reaching an agreement in time, since bilateral relations “are at their best moment in recent years”.

In total, 50,000 cubic meters of soil contaminated with half a kilogram of plutonium are involved and which make the radioactive stigma lingers on in Cuevas de Almanzora, the Almeria municipality to which Palomares and Villaricos belong, more than half a century later. The affected lands are still spread over 44 plots that the State is now trying to expropriate.

In 2015, a political agreement was reached (without any legal linkage) whereby Spain would be in charge of the cleanup and the US would keep the radioactive lands. But that memorandum was never developed and contamination persists in Palomares.

Kayleigh Williams