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Almaraz nuclear incident sparks calls for probe, halt to storage plan

by TPN/Lusa, in News · 12-04-2017 12:52:00 · 0 Comments

Environmental campaigners have called for an investigation into an unplanned stoppage at the nuclear plant at Almaraz, near the border with Portugal, while a member of the European parliament for Portugal’s governing Socialist Party said such incidents should prompt an “immediate halt” in the construction of a waste storage facility on the site.

Almaraz nuclear incident sparks calls for probe, halt to storage plan

“These incidents should prompt the Spanish authorities to immediately halt construction of the waste storage and to plan, in consultation with Portugal and the European Union, for the plant’s closure”, said EU MP Carlos Zorrinho, in a statement sent to Lusa News Agency.
While the incidents “are apparently without systemic risk (...) in the case of nuclear energy the precautionary principle and that of zero tolerance should apply”, he concluded.
Zorrinho’s comments came following an incident at the plant earlier this week, on Monday, when an unplanned stoppage occurred in one of the main pumps.
After the stoppage, the management of the Almaraz plant said in a statement that its Unit no. 1 was in a “stable situation” and that “all controls and protections” functioned correctly.
It added that staff were looking into the anomaly and carrying out tests and inspections before switching the unit’s power back on.
The plant had, “following established procedures”, notified Spain’s National Safety Council (CSN) about the stoppage that occurred), “due to the stoppage of the main number two pump” at 9.57am local time on Monday (8.57am Lisbon)
The CSN subsequently issued its own statement saying that the incident “had no impact” whatsoever, on workers, the public or the environment, and classed it as level zero on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), which has seven levels.
However, the incident has prompted the Iberian Anti-nuclear Movement (MIA) and the Ecologists in Action to reiterate their call for authorisation for the plant’s functioning not to be renewed.
Its current licence runs to 2020.
In February, Spain and Portugal agreed to settle a dispute involving plans to build a nuclear waste storage facility at Almaraz with the help of European Union mediators.
That was after Portugal lodged a formal complaint because of Spain’s failure to carry out a full environmental impact study before advancing with the plan.

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Edition 1500
10 November 2018
Edition: 1500

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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