Despite government assurances that Spain’s obsolete nuclear energy plant at Almaraz poses no immediate threat to Portugal, at least 400 Portuguese are expected to take part in the protest called by the Iberian anti-nuclear movement, scheduled for Saturday in Madrid.
The aim is to stop Spain arbitrarily extending the life of aging nuclear plants that have all started registering ‘performance failures’. Almaraz sits on the banks of the Tejo river, just 100 kms from Portugal.
It has been described as a “time bomb” by environmentalists. Five independent experts have identified failures in its cooling system (click here), and a report – sat on for years – highlights the chances of 800,000 Portuguese being affected by radiation in the event of an accident (click here).
Portugal initially challenged Spain’s policy of extending the plant’s life (click here), but ended up dropping objections, apparently after the personal intervention of European Commission president Jean-Claude Junker.
As Euro MP José Faria has suggested, ‘something is rotten’ in this story. In a recent press release, he said:
“The government is not telling us the truth: it appears to be Spain’s camouflaged intention not just to store the radioactive waste coming out of Almaraz after 2018, but to take in the radioactive waste from six other nuclear energy plants in Spain – extending the life of Almaraz beyond 2020”.
Thus Saturday’s protest, which promises to unite 10,000 people from all over Spain.