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Nuclear power station in Ferrel, Peniche, Portugal

Campaign in Portugal "For Life and Against Nuclear" manages to halt nuclear power development. A national campaign claims that: "We are all residents of Ferrel" - and we are all impacted by nuclear energy.


Ferrel is the name of a Portuguese parish in the municipality of Peniche and the place where a nuclear power plant was to be built in the 1970s. However, this project faced strong public opposition and was cancelled due to mobilizations throughout the whole country. The local population's protests against the construction of this nuclear plant, which peaked in March 1976, gave birth to a broader movement. Even today, Portuguese civil society continues to say

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Nuclear power station in Ferrel, Peniche, Portugal
State or province:Peniche
Location of conflict:Ferrel
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Nuclear power plants
Specific commodities:Uranium
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 1972 the Portuguese electrical company (CPE) foresees 1979 as the year in which the first Portuguese reactor would start its activity. The plan was to build four reactors at different times between 1981 and 1989, with an investment of about 30 million escudos, at 1972 prices (about 350 million euros at 2010 prices).

Level of Investment:300,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Unknown
Start of the conflict:15/03/1976
End of the conflict:31/12/1976
Company names or state enterprises:Portuguese Electrical Company (CPE) from Portugal - Proponent of the nuclear plant
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Amigos da Terra
Associação Portuguesa de Ecologistas
Comissão de Apoio à Luta Contra a Ameaça Nuclear (CALCAN)
Comissão de Moradores de Ferrel
Movimento Ecológico Português (MEP)
Plataform Against Nuclear Power
Plataforma pelo Não ao Nuclear
Viver é preciso
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Project cancelled
Development of alternatives:Sttrugle for an "alternative" that called for the increase of solar energy as a non-polluting source and at "the service for all humankind".
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:NEW The nuclear power plant was not built. This conflict led to a broad convergence of different social groups (local and national, rural and urban, popular and intellectual) into a dynamic antinuclear front that is active even today.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

SCHMIDT, Luísa. Ambiente e políticas ambientais: escalas e desajustes. Villaverde-Cabral, M.,Wall, K., Aboim, S., & Carreira da Silva, Filipe (orgs.). Itinerários. A investigação nos 25 anos do ICS. Lisboa. Imprensa de Ciências Sociais, 2008. pp. 285-314.
[click to view]

FIGUEIREDO, Elisabete; FIDÉLIS, Teresa. No meu quintal não. Contributos para uma análise dos movimentos ambientais de raiz popular em Portugal (1974-1994). Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais, v. 65, 2003.
[click to view]

SEMBLANO, Diana. Portugal Nuclear. Física, Tecnologia, Medicina e Ambiente (1910-2010). Estágio de Integração na Investigação.s/a.
[click to view]

RODRIGUES, Eugénia. Os novos movimentos sociais e o associativismo ambientalista em Portugal. Oficina n. 60. Universidade de Coimbra, CES-Centro de Estudos Sociais, Setembro de 1995.
[click to view]

SOROMENHO-MARQUES, Viriato. Raízes do Ambientalismo em Portugal. Metamorfoses. Entre o colapso e o desenvolvimento sustentável, Mem Martins, Publicações Europa-América, 2005, p.127-144..
[click to view]

SCHMIDT, Luísa. Cap. 14 - Ambiente e políticas ambientais: escalas e desajustes. Villaverde-Cabral, M.,Wall, K., Aboim, S. e Carreira da Silva, Filipe (orgs.). Itinerários. A investigação nos 25 anos do ICS. Lisboa. Imprensa de Ciências Sociais, 2008. p. 285-314.
[click to view]

NUCLEAR POWER. No thanks: uranium mining in Portugal.
[click to view]

PORTUGAL AMERICAN JOURNAL. Nuclear power rejected – Portugal, June, 2011
[click to view]


GUIMARÃES, Paulo Eduardo; FERNANDES, Francisco Rego Chaves. Capítulo 1: Os conflitos ambientais em Portugal (1974-2015): uma breve retrospectiva. pp. 19-64. In: GUIMARÃES, Paulo Eduardo; CEBADA, Juan Diego Pérez (coords.). Conflitos ambientais na indústria mineira e metalúrgica: o passado e o presente. Rio de Janeiro/ Évora. 2016.
[click to view]

TAVARES, Bruno Ribeiro. O Ambiente e as políticas ambientais em Portugal: Contributos para uma abordagem histórica. Dissertação de mestrado em cidadania ambiental e participação. Universidade Aberta, julho de 2003.
[click to view]

TAVARES, Bruno Ribeiro. O Ambiente e as políticas ambientais em Portugal: Contributos para uma abordagem histórica. Dissertação de Mestrado em cidadania ambiental e participação. Universidade Aberta, Jul. 2003.
[click to view]

GASPAR, Júlia. The two iberian nuclear programmes: Post-war scientific endeavours in a comparative approach (1948-1973). Centro Interuniversitário de História das Ciências e da Tecnologia. 7th STEP Meeting. Galway, 17-20 June 2010. Session Comparative and Cross-National History of Science, Medicine, and Technology.
[click to view]


BARCA, Stefania; DELICADO, Ana. Anti-nuclear mobilisation (ANM) and environmentalism in Europe: a view from Portugal (1976-1986). Forthcoming in Environment and History. Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon. London: The White Horse Press. 2016.
[click to view]

DELICADO. Ana; PEREIRA, Tiago Santos; BARCA, Stefania. Anatomy of a controversy: nuclear power in Portugal.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Webpage. No to Nuclear Organization
[click to view]


TOXIC BIOS. A guerrilla narrative project. Toxic Bios. 25 jan. 2018.
[click to view]

News Article. (2006). Correio da Manhã. População de Ferrel volta a recusar energia nuclear (Ferrel population says no to nuclear again).
[click to view]


News Article (2018). Gazeta das Caldas. Ferrel, 40 anos pela vida e contra o nuclear.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network


PAeM – Vídeos sobre estação nuclear de Ferrel
[click to view]


Vídeo SIC. Ferrel e o protesto em 1976 contra a construção de uma central nuclear
[click to view]

Other documents

Ferrel manifesto 1976
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Lays Silva, Lúcia Fernandes and Stefania Barca
Last update18/08/2019
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