Last update:
2018-04-25

Nuclear waste storage and mining near the Spanish frontier, Portugal

"We don’t want to be Europe’s nuclear waste dump" - Border communities resist being burdened with toxic waste with a half-life of of 50.000-500.000 years.


Description:

In 1987, the Spanish government began to study the possibility of a pilot project to establish a nuclear waste storage site near its border with Portugal. The site for the proposed project was Aldeadávila de la Ribera (Zamora, Spain), a village located in the International Douro Nature Park and four kilometers from the Portuguese border. At the time, the Douro River supplied water for roughly 5 million Portuguese people, or around half of the population.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Nuclear waste storage and mining near the Spanish frontier, Portugal
Country:Portugal
State or province:Bragança
Location of conflict: Freixo de Espada à Cinta
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Nuclear waste storage
Specific commodities:Uranium
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

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Level of Investment:US$ 5.6 million in European Community funds were requested
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/01/1987
Company names or state enterprises:Berkeley Minera España S.A (Berkeley) from Australia - Principal stakeholder
Apollo group from Australia - Retortillo
Relevant government actors:Empresa Nacional de Resíduos Radioativos;
Ministério do Ambiente;
Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros;
Ministério de Indústria e Energia
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Commission (EC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Ambiente em Zonas Uraníferas (AZU)
Associação Ambientalista da Extremadura (Adenex)
Associação de Municípios em Áreas de Centrais Nucleares (AMAC)
Associação de Municípios Ibéricos Ribeirinhos do Douro
Associação dos Ex-Trabalhadores das Minas de Urânio (ATMU)
Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza (Quercus)
Comissão de Ex-trabalhadores da ENU
Ecologistas en Acción Extremadura
Fundo para a Proteção dos Animais Selvagens (FAPAS)
Grupo de Estudos de Ordenamento do Território e Ambiente (GEOTA)
Liga para a Proteção da Natureza (LPN)
Movimento Ibérico Anti-Nuclear (MIA)
Movimento Urânio em Nisa Não (MUNN)
Plataforma Antinuclear Cerrar Almaraz
Plataforma Cementério Nuclear No
Plataforma Cívica Tejo Seguro
Plataforma Refinería No
Plataforma Stop Uranium
Solidaridad para el desarrollo y la paz (Sodepaz)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Strengthening of participation
Project cancelled
Development of alternatives:To find a location near to where the nuclear energy has more usage, like Catalonia or Madrid.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The project was cancelled and the nuclear waste storage site was not built.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

EXPRESSO PORTUGAL. Exploração de urânio em Espanha pode afetar Portugal. 09 jun. 2013.
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AGENCIA LUSA. Bragança rejeita cemitério nuclear espanhol junto da fronteira.Diário Digital. 3 de Agosto de 2006.
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LA CRÓNICA DE SALAMANCA. Berkeley da un paso más para abrir la mina de uranio en Retortillo, 24 abr. 2014.
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REYNA, Patrick. Portuguese protest Spain's search for nuclear site near border. The Associated Press. 07 Jun. 1987.

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News Article. LUSA. Municípios raianos contestam construção de mina de urânio próximo de Salamanca. Diário de Notícias. 18 mai 2017.
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News Article. TSF. Depois de Almaraz, há um novo "conflito" nuclear perto da fronteira portuguesa. 18 abr. 2017.
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News Article. EXPRESSO. Milhares de pessoas protestam contra mina de urânio em Retortillo. 24 dez. 2018.
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EJATLAS. Open air mine explotation of uranium in Spain-Portugal border. EJatlas.org. 2018.
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News Article. LUSA. Os Verdes alertam na Guarda para exploração de urânio junto à fronteira. RTP notícias. 20 out. 2016.
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News Article. LUSA. Ambientalistas insistem no risco de mina de urânio espanhola e querem posição do Governo. Diário de Notícias. 18 mai 2017.
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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La Gaceta de Salamanca
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PAeM – Vídeos sobre Retortillo, Espanha
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PAeM – Vídeos sobre a exploração de Urânio
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PAeM – Vídeos sobre resíduos nucleares de Aldeadávila, Espanha
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Other documents

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Imagem cedida por: www.ambientemovimento.org
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Imagem cedida por: www.ambientemovimento.org
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Imagem cedida por: www.ambientemovimento.org
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Imagem cedida por: www.ambientemovimento.org
[click to view]

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Imagem cedida por: www.ambientemovimento.org
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Francisco Fernandes, Stefania Barca and Teresa Meira
Last update25/04/2018
Comments
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