The Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) has ended officially admitting (through a statement sent to the media this Wednesday night) the existence of stools with sludge radioactively contaminated in several points on the banks of the Jarama irrigation channel . But, in addition, the CSN has listed six other zones. The existence of these six contaminated areas was already known, although they are not cataloged because Spain does not yet have an inventory of radiologically contaminated soils, something that should have existed since 2008. That is to say, there is a legal limbo in which it is admitted that there are polluted, but not officially declared.
Until now the existence of sidewalks with sludges from a spill of 1970, that the Francoism hid along the irrigation canal, was unknown. EL PAÍS unveiled its existence and location last month. "There are several areas that have radioactivity caused by human activities," says the CSN now. The supervisor assures that "through the exercise of its regulatory function and control in matters of radiological protection", has known different locations with presence of radioactivity in Spain, "in which it is estimated that there is no significant radiological risk," says the agency in its statement.
And among them are the ditches of the Jarama. The CSN reports that in locations located in several municipal districts of the provinces of Madrid and Toledo, on the margins of the Canal Real del Jarama, there are eight ditches of variable length and depth, known as the Banquetas del Jarama, with products of fission, "having made determinations for Cesium-137 and Strontium-90", indicates in his note.
The supervisor lists the other contaminated sites, headed by Palomares, located in the municipality of Cuevas de Almanzora (Almería), where there are "lands with an approximate area of 40 hectares, divided into four zones, with the presence of Plutonium-239 and Americio. -241 ", from the accident of 1966 (the crash of a US bomber B-52 with a mother plane crashed on the coast of Almeria four hydrogen bombs). It also refers to 1,600 square meters with presence of Cesium-137 in the marshes of Mendaña, located in the estuary of the Tinto River in Huelva, before its confluence with the Odiel River. And the 1,200 hectares with Radio-226 in the estuary of the Tinto river in Huelva, before its confluence with the Odiel river where there is "a raft of phosphogypses".
The list of the CSN includes the El Hondón site, located in Cartagena (Murcia), where "phosphate sludge deposits are located, with an area of approximately 108 hectares, with the presence of Uranium-238". Finally, in the reservoir of the Ebro River located in the town of Flix, Tarragona, "phosphate sludge was located, with the presence of Uranium-238, which have already been removed".
The CSN recognizes that these are lands "that exhibit radioactivity originated by human activities", coming from "accidents or practices (activities with radioactive substances) carried out in the past". However, due to the lack of a catalog of affected soils, there is a paradox that "at this moment, there is no land declared as contaminated".
The CSN recalls that it drafted a catalog, but that it "confirmed the need to modify the Nuclear Energy Law, as an enabling law of some aspects regulated in this royal decree". In other words, in order to continue with this inventory, it was necessary for the Government to act, something that has not happened during the last decade.
After knowing the existence of the banks of the Jarama and the lack of the catalog of contaminated soils, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition promised to start up that inventory. "The approval of the regulations will facilitate the implementation of the pertinent and necessary actions for the declaration of the lands affected by radioactive contamination and, where appropriate, the determination of the cleaning actions or restrictions of use, or the declaration of free use ", concludes the CSN in its note.
Ecologists in Action and Jarama Vivo have held a protest on Wednesday on one of the sidewalks, which have symbolically signaled. "A mere visual inspection of the burials makes clear the proximity and easy access to them," said a statement by both organizations. According to both organizations, this lack of conservation has made it possible for several of these deposits to have been removed, "causing a possible risk of radioactive contamination to the population."
"At the moment there is no guarantee that these discharges have not been removed and dispersed," said Raúl Urquiaga, spokesperson for Jarama Vivo. "In fact, some of the locations are on infrastructures such as the A4 variant, roads or electricity towers," concluded the ecologist.