Portugal’s MPs to demand environment assessment of Spanish uranium mine
An all party resolution is being drafted by Portugal's Foreign Affairs Committee to question the licensing of a uranium mine over the border in Retortillo, Salamanca.
Calling for an environmental impact assessment of the mining project, mainly because the mine is in an area through which a stream flows and ends up in a tributary of the Douro, the mine is opposed by environmentalists in both countries.
The Portuguese Environment Agency already has stated that the Spanish mine is, “likely to have significant environmental effects” in Portugal because it is close to the border and that the river Yeltes, a tributary of the Douro, may become contaminated.
At the end of May, 2018, the Portuguese Ministries of the Environment and of Foreign Affairs said that Spain gave Portugal, “detailed information on the mining project and ensured that Portugal will be involved in the process.”
Portugal also has received “additional reports from the Ministries and other responsible entities” and both parties have committed to “review and improve bilateral consultation procedures, including through the definition of objective criteria for gauging potential cross-border environmental impacts of future projects.”
Spain and Portugal’s governments also have expressed their willingness to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding on radiation protection and nuclear safety in order to facilitate the “exchange of information on licensing, surveillance and control of nuclear and radioactive facilities.”
Environmentalists fear this waffle and the diplomatic niceties that are being followed will serve only to enable the Portuguese government to show that it has made ‘every effort’ while bowing to pressure from Spain whcih fully intends to license the mine.
The European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, already has bullied Portugal into dropping a cross-border complaint over expansion plans for Spain’s Almaraz nuclear power station and is likely again to use the same tactics.
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