Negotiations advance for the US to take the land with plutonium in Palomares (Almería)

Washington.- The negotiation between Spain and the United States for Washington to take away the land contaminated with plutonium due to the nuclear accident in Palomares (Almería) that occurred in 1955 is well underway, according to what Spanish diplomatic sources stated this Wednesday.

It is an issue that the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, will raise with the President of the United States, Joe Biden, in the meeting they will hold on Friday at the White House.

It is also on the agenda of the meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, José Manuel Albares, and the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, this Wednesday in Washington.

“Let’s see how the conversation goes. The preliminary contacts are good,” explained sources familiar with the matter, who hope that an agreement on the nuclear accident 57 years ago will emerge from these conversations.

The State Department has not responded to a request for information from EFE about the Palomares case.

Removal of contaminated land

Madrid and Washington signed a political commitment in 2015 to transfer contaminated lands to the Nevada desert, a demand that the current Spanish Government has reactivated.

The newspaper El País reported in March that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented to the United States “the official request to proceed with the withdrawal of the land.” The same newspaper spoke this Wednesday in agreement, although the sources consulted by EFE did not confirm it.

In total, there are 50,000 cubic meters of land contaminated with half a kilo of plutonium and which means that the radioactive stigma persists in Cuevas de Almanzora, the Almería municipality to which Palomares and Villaricos belongs, more than half a century later.

The Palomares nuclear accident occurred on January 17, 1966, when two United States Air Force aircraft collided, causing four thermonuclear bombs to detach and fall.

The affected lands are still distributed among 44 parcels that the State is now trying to expropriate.

In 2015, a political agreement was reached without any legal binding whereby Spain would be in charge of the cleanup and the United States would keep the radioactive lands. But that memorandum was never developed and the contamination persists in Palomares.

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