The government’s price isn’t right for plutonium-contaminated land in Palomares (Almeria)

COMPULSORY PURCHASE: Government will buy up contaminated Palomares land Photo credit: CC/schumi4ever

FIFTY-SIX years on, Palomares is still suffering the effects of its infamous “nuclear incident.”

This occurred on January 17 in 1966 when four unarmed thermonuclear bombs were released after two US aircraft crashed in mid-air over the Mediterranean.

One bomb was found far out to sea but three fell on Palomares, releasing plutonium and contaminating an area of two square kilometres. The US army decontaminated some of the land but much remains untreated.

Spain’s central government announced in early October that it would soon be completing its estimate of the value of the plutonium-affected properties it intends to acquire.

“This would appear to be the first step in the clean-up plan drafted more than 10 years ago,” provincial media sources said.

Buying up the land was in the public interest “to safeguard residents’ health and permit a close watch on the land”, the government said, allocating €345,127 for the compulsory purchase of 324,073 square metres of land.

According to the same sources, the 30 owners involved, who include developers and agricultural growers, dismissed the €1 per square metre compensation as “laughable.”

They maintained that this was particularly risible after Spain’s Energy, Environmental and Technological Research Centre (CIEMAT) recommended a price of €17 per square metre of rural land and €83 for building land in a 2007 report to the Nuclear Safety Council.

Most of the land in question is located within the Cuevas del Almanzora boundaries although five properties belong to Vera.



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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]


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