Portugal’s MPs have at last taken a stand over the obsolete and allegedly unsafe nuclear power station of Almaraz, situated on the Tejo River just 100 kms from northern border communities.
Resolutions put up by PAN (the People Animals Nature party) and Bloco Esquerda (Left Bloc) have seen unanimous left-wing support for the call to work with Spanish authorities and shut the 36-year-old plant down.
Centre-right PSD members did not feel the same way, however, voting against the resolutions – with CDS former coalition colleagues abstaining altogether.
The dangers posed by Almaraz were highlighted by five independent experts who reported for environmental NGO Greenpeace in February that they have doubts that a “cooling system for essential services” at the plant is ‘reliable’ (click here).
Spanish newspaper El País stressed at the time that the country’s nuclear supervisory body has refuted the findings. But PAN’s data alluded to the fact that Almaraz “should have been shut down in 2010”.
Thus “it is not only without the necessary conditions to function, it has overstepped the useful lifespan for nuclear plants of this kind”.
A disaster, MPs heard would have “enormous consequences” “with implications on the lives and health of generations”.
Any kind of meltdown or failing could lead to “large scale contamination of the air and water of the Tejo” at a point where it enters Portugal.
As Bloco Esquerda’s resolution explained, “the safety of frontier populations among others is worth more than the profits of shareholders of Endesa, Iberdrola and União Fenosa”.
Intriguingly, PAN talked about the plant being open to “external risks, be they accidents or premeditated”.
Nevertheless, the nitty gritty of ‘if and when’ the plant could be shutdown has not yet been explained.