IMPASSE: Ministerial meeting over Almaraz “ends without agreement”

Portugal is standing firm and filing a complaint to Brussels over Spain’s decision to press ahead with a nuclear waste dump at Almaraz – just 100 kms from Portugal’s border, and on the already compromised waters of the Tejo River.

Environment minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes left the meeting with Spanish counterparts in Madrid early this morning, saying the two sides had failed to reach an agreement – despite hopes being raised during informal talks at the funeral of Mário Soares (click here).

He said he would be filing Portugal’s complaint on Monday.

The issue centres on EU law that rules that ‘cross-border impacts’ must be evaluated, and agreed upon by affected countries.

In this case, Spain has been forging ahead, knowing full well that Portugal is not in agreement, and has no emergency plan in place to deal with any kind of nuclear incident.

Risks have been highlighted recently, after Almaraz was found to have a number of failings by five independent experts (click here).

The plant is already 40 years old, and was scheduled to be mothballed by 2020.

Environmentalists fighting the case say Spain’s plan to site a nuclear waste dump beside the plant suggests the government is a deceitful way of trying to extend Almaraz’s life well beyond 2020, something they claim is simply unacceptable.

Fears that any kind of problem could impact on Portugal and discharge into the Tejo River are running particularly high after it was discovered that pollution of the river is going ahead relentlessly despite authorities’ intervention (click here).

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