El Pais: Spain wants to resume negotiations with the US on the removal of radioactive earth from Palomares

The Spanish Foreign Ministry has resumed efforts to sign an agreement with the United States to remove land from the area of ​​the village of Palomares. The earth was contaminated with plutonium after an American thermonuclear bomber crashed in the area in 1966. Writes about it El Pais citing own sources. According to the Spanish news agency EFE, we are talking about about 50 thousand cubic meters. m of contaminated land.

On January 17, 1966, a bomber carrying a thermonuclear weapon collided with a tanker aircraft while refueling in the air. The planes crashed near the village of Palomares in southern Spain. As a result of the crash, four bombs fell out of the bomber. None of them exploded, but the detonators of two of them were damaged, which caused radioactive contamination of the area around. After that, the United States began an operation to remove the contaminated land, but a few months later the operation was stopped, apparently at the request of the Francoist authorities in Spain, who considered that the history of radiation pollution harmed the tourism industry. Representatives of the Spanish government announced that the problem was solved, and radiation no longer threatens local residents. To confirm this, a visit was even arranged to those places by the Minister of Information and Tourism of Spain, Manuel Fraga, whom photographers captured swimming in the sea near the crash site.

But, as evidenced by subsequent measurements, quite a lot of contaminated soil remained in the Palomares region. In 2015, Spain and the United States returned to discussing this issue, and the Spanish government even received the consent of the administration of then US President Barack Obama to resume work on the removal of contaminated land. The signing of a binding agreement, however, was prevented by a change of governments in both countries. Now, according to El Pais, the process has resumed.

According to the newspaper, a few months ago, the Spanish authorities initiated the resumption of negotiations. According to the publication, this coincided with the discussion by the two countries of the issue of increasing the number of American ships at the Rota naval base in Spain from four to six. The interlocutors of the newspaper claim, however, that the Spanish government does not link these two processes. In addition, El Pais noted that the intensification of the actions of the Spanish authorities to resolve this issue may be associated with the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country in December. The interlocutors of the newspaper noted that now the chances of concluding an agreement are high, given the excellent relations between Madrid and Washington.

Yana Rozhdestvenskaya


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