Spain, US reach deal on nuclear accident site

  • 19/10/2015

Washington and Madrid have reached a new agreement in principle for the United States to clean up land contaminated by radiation from undetonated nuclear bombs that accidentally fell on a site in Spain in 1966.

The two sides "intend to negotiate a binding agreement for a cooperative effort to conduct further remediation of the Palomares site and arrange for disposal of the contaminated soil at an appropriate site in the United States," they said in a joint statement said.

On January 17, 1966, a US B-52 bomber carrying four nuclear bombs collided with a tanker plane during mid-air refuelling off the coast of Spain, and two thermonuclear bombs fell near Palomares.

Although they did not detonate, they broke up, spreading seven pounds of plutonium over a 200 hectare area.

Under an earlier accord that ended in 2010, Washington paid €314,000 a year for tests for contamination in the region as well as regular blood tests for more than 1000 Palomares residents.