Spanish nuclear council in pollution row

Council denies altering statement about radioactive pollution over Madrid

Spanish nuclear safety officials have been criticised by environmental group Greenpeace Spain for allegedly attempting to cover up the presence of radioactive caesium-137 pollution over the city of Madrid. This follows the detection of low-level radioactive pollution over five European countries in the last month which is thought to have originated from a Spanish foundry in Algeciras (ENDS Daily 16 June). In the first of two statements on the issue last Friday, the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CNS) said that the radioactive caesium had been found over Madrid as well as the southern provinces of Almería and Tarragona. But in a second release a few hours later the word "Madrid" was deleted, leading Greenpeace to accuse the CNS of deliberately altering the text in order to "hide the fact that the caesium had passed over central Spain". A CNS spokesperson told ENDS Daily that the change of wording was due to "an internal communication error". The council has also rebuffed accusations of incompetence because the pollution alarm was first raised in other countries. It says this was due to wind direction and to differences in monitoring schedules between countries. The spokesperson also questioned whether Spain was to blame at all. While the foundry is still being investigated, he said: "We have also not discarded the possibility that some incident in another country is responsible."

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