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Radioactive contamination damages awarded

A Madrid civil court on Friday awarded euros 3.12m (SPta520m) damages against a Spanish metal-recycling firm that released a cloud of radioactive contamination across Europe in June 1998 (ENDS Daily 16 June 1998). Acerinox had accidentally melted scrap containing caesium-137 at a plant in Cadiz, southern Spain. The case was brought by Egmasa, operator of a waste disposal plant which unknowingly accepted radioactive ash produced in the incident. The judgement finds Acerinox guilty of "serious negligence" for "a two-week delay in informing Egmasa of the existence of radiation". No criminal charges have resulted in Spain, but two Acerinox directors have been charged by the prosecutor's office in Turin, Italy (EED 13/12/00).

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