More than fifty years after Palomares (Almeria, Spain) nuclear disaster there are still many doubts about the official version; classified documents, secrecy and silence make it very difficult to know what steps were taken and the impact on the area and population. To date, Center for Energy Environment and Technology (CIEMAT) performs periodic analyzes to 150 inhabitants of the village of Palomares (Indalo Project).
<<FIFTY YEARS LIVING WITH PLUTONIUM>>
In the accident (1966) nuclear fuel has spread for more than 266 hectares, radioactive compounds of alpha category do not penetrate the skin but those are harmful if inhaled or swallowed (aerosols attached to land and airborne dust). For someones the most important catastrophe in history with nuclear weapons (the four bombs carried mostly Plutonium [Pu], with an expectance of 80 million years). The efforts of some people allow us today to move towards more knowledge of what happened there, in one of the most obscure and unknown events of the Spanish dictatorship during the Cold War.
Epidemiological report by Doctor Pedro Antonio Martinez Pinilla, that for decades conducted studies on Palomares population, demonstrate the existence of contamination: In the first study in the years after the accident he hasn’t found increase of deaths by tumor development. But in the second study, 20 years later, he found an increase of tumor development in the town, setting a latency period of polluting waste. A thorough study that provides some answers and some more questions.
The American Army occupied the zone for a few months setting Camp Wilson and proceeding to the work of cleaning, but they didn’t finalize it (they took away only 3% of contaminated ground). Since 2010, it is underway the Palomares Rehabilitation Planning for removal of the remaining land with contamination and transfer to the US for disposal. Until now nothing has been done, the ball is on the roof of the highest authorities of the National Security of United States of America, the residues still in Palomares.
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Also by Adrián Domínguez —