US, Spain ink new accord to cleanup nuclear accident site at Palomares

United States and Spain have reached an in principle agreement to clean up land at Palomares site (in Spain) contaminated by plutonium radiation from undetonated US nuclear bombs.

The binding clean up deal was finalised in Madrid during US Secretary of State John Kerry official visit to Spain. Under the agreement, US will remove the soil contaminated by nuclear radiation at Palomares.

Background

  • In January 1966, a US B-52 bomber plane carrying 4 nuclear bombs had crashed off the coast of Spain over the Mediterranean Sea. It was one of the most serious nuclear accidents of the Cold War era.
  • The plane had crashed after it had collided with a tanker plane during mid-air refuelling. Of these 4 nuclear bombs, 3 fell around Palomares and a 4th was found on the sea bed.
  • After the crash, the bombs did not detonated but highly toxic radioactive plutonium from the bombs leaked and spread over a 490-acre area of Palomares town.
  • Under the earlier agreement which ended in 2010, US had paid 350,000 dollars every year for tests of radioactive soil contamination in the region as well as regular blood tests for Palomares residents.

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Categories: International Current Affairs 2017

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