NUCLEAR WASTE: Radioactive waste shipped to Almeria Province under the nose of authorities

MORE EARTH: Parts of Palomares remain off limits CREDIT: Maria Jesus Amate, via Twitter

TWO containers filled with more than one tonne of radioactive earth were shipped to Palomares in 2016 without the knowledge of local authorities, a government research body has said.

Spain’s Centre for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research (CIEMAT) said the earth was sent to Palomares from Madrid for evaluation purposes.

Local authorities were not notified at the time, the Mayor of Cuevas del Almanzora said.

The news comes as the town has spent more than 50 years waiting for a final deal on the cleanup of contaminated earth.

Parts of the town are still radioactive after a mid-air crash resulted in four United States (US) nuclear bombs falling on the area in 1966.

CIEMAT said the two containers, one containing 796 kilograms of radioactive material and another filled with 670 kilograms, arrived in Palomares in May and November 2016 respectively.

The body added the dirt’s radioactivity levels were low intensity and did not create any risk to the town or its residents. It remains in the two containers in a controlled area in the town, CIEMAT said.

Antonio Fernandez, the Mayor of Cuevas de Almanzora, said he received no information about the earth at the time.

“Cuevas has been asking for contaminated earth to be moved, not that more should be brought in and let alone without even saying anything,” the mayor said.