15 Feb, 2011 @ 10:00
1 min read

Spain asks America to clear up nuclear mess

THE Spanish government is demanding that America pays to remove 50,000 cubic metres of contaminated plutonium from a site in Almeria.

It comes after waiting over four decades since a series of nuclear bombs accidentally fell near Palomares in 1966 when US air force planes collided with a refuelling aircraft.

The worst nuclear accident of its time, it provoked worries that it would destroy tourism in Andalucia.

Spain is now demanding that the contaminated soil is removed “without delay.”

Spain does not have anywhere to store the soil, which will take thousands of years to lose its radioactivity.

Experts say that by sifting the soil it could be reduced to 6,000 cubic metres, but it will cost 31m euros.

Tests on local people have shown the plutonium has had little impact on the population.

But the four areas that are contaminated have no agriculture permitted.


  1. I remember Franco’s minister Fraga paddling in the sea with the American Ambassador (I think) to reassure all and sundry that there was no danger. All they needed was the Tory minister John Selwyn Gummer forcing local beefburgers down his unfortunate children’s throats. As nonagenarian Fraga was alive and kicking last time I looked what’s the beef? The Americans are not going to pay so why waste a stamp?

  2. Thank God there wasn’t a nuclear explosion. In that sense the photo used is not appropriate and it can be misleading.
    However the conventional explosives (used in nuclear weapons to start the reaction) in two of the bombs did explode and scattered plutonium in the surroundings. That’s what contaminated the area.

  3. “Tests on local people have shown the plutonium has had little impact on the population.”

    Yeah, Plutonium is good for you. They’ll tell you anything, governments. Of course it has had an effect on the environment, and people are part of the environment. It must have entered the water table etc. The USA should have removed this contaminated soil decades ago.

  4. This is a segment in history that i had no idea occurred. I guess that must have been one of the safe atomic bomb that those people were around in the picture, are they would have all had radiation poisoning.

  5. I understand that the situation needs to be cleared but demanding that We remove the soil and even after four decades is a bit forceful. The planes were on the air space because of agreements with Spain and the European countries. That means they committed to such thing and the consequences. Spain also has participated on pretty much every single mission where the allies and the USA has sent bombs to the midle east including the war in Ira

  6. Relax, everybody! radiation is not nearly as dangerous as is commonly believed. Just look at Fukushima (Japan). Not a single person has been killed or even seriously injured by all the radaition that escaped the broken reactors and spent-fuel pools. This confirms years of experience with radiation exposures. Even the director of the Chernobyl plant, who was exposed to 2.5 Sv of radiation (a near lethal dose) survived radiation sickness and a 10-year Soviet-labor-camp sentence and is alive and well TODAY. So, unless you get exposed to HUGE amounts of radiation nothing bad will happen to you.

  7. I think the answer to this is it has not been cleared up! Apparently it needs to as the half life of Plutonium 239 is 24,000 years. People say they do not eat fruit and vegetables grown in that region.

    A large desert resort of homes is being sold there and still being advertised on a property forum and I doubt buyers are aware of this.

    When there are so many homes elsewhere, why would anyone risk buying there?

  8. They still grow fruit and veg near there and relabel it. Animals graze nearby & stray onto the contaminated land, and estate agents sell properties in these danger zones –


    Can’t believe USA got away with this, or that Spain doesn’t have an international situation with them until it’s been cleared up. In the meantime avoid Palomares!!

    Very near all those fantastic coastal places too.

    Let’s hope this gets brought up again and becomes an EU problem to sort.

    (now let’s see if Tedious Fred reads this and tries to find a way to attack another comment)

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