Fraud lies behind government’s backing for nuclear waste dump on Portugal’s borders, says earth party

News that Portugal has dropped its opposition to the siting of a nuclear waste dump on the banks of the Tejo river has sent Partido da Terra-MPT into blistering attack mode.

Calling the decision “fraudulent”, the party which has no MPs in Portugal and only one in Europe is challenging the government to come clean and explain exactly what ‘backroom deals’ lie behind it.

The ‘okay’ – delivered by after what the party dubs “pseudo public consultation” – came without access to a large number of restricted documents, and without any consideration to the views of environmental NGOs.

Even worse are the implications of Portugal’s limp-wristed attitude, says MPT, echoing the PCP communists assertion that Portugal has simply “washed the feet of the Spanish government”.

The nuclear waste dump, known as an ATI (standing for the Portuguese translation of Temporary nuclear waste storage facility) is the key to the survival of nuclear energy in Spain, the party explains.

“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”, warns a statement.

Considering the plant has regularly safety issues (click here) and was flagged by five independent experts last year for being high-risk (click here), the decision by Portugal to just nod everything through is a “farce”, the party continues.

Sending out its statement on Friday night, hopes now among environmentalists are that Portugal’s stance can be forced to safer ground.

Citing previous occasions when it looked like the government would actually do the right thing over the threat emanating from Almaraz (click here), Partido da Terra says “at this moment, the Portuguese and Partido da Terra-MPT demands that the government fulfill its promises and take up the complaint against Spain once more”.

“The government has tricked the Portuguese people by promising that it would intransigently defend national interests” when in reality these have been “ridden roughshod over, without anyone knowing what kind of compensatory arrangements were negotiated between Portugal and Spain”.

As the statement concludes: “Partido da Terra-MPT promises to do everything so that Spain’s lack of compliance (with European directives about transfrontier risks) are recognised. It will never give up the battle to see legality restored, and Portuguese interests (properly) defended”.

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