Portuguese join Spanish anti-nuclear protestors in Salamanca
Environmental protestors from Portugal and Spain joined forces at a demonstration in Salamanca, demanding that the newly formed Spanish Government shuts down nuclear power plants and scraps the licence for the uranium mine in Retortillo near the border.
The demonstration was organised by the Iberian Antinuclear Movement and attracted over 2,000 people.
Nuno Sequeira from Quercus said that protesters are asking Spain’s new government to “immediately sit down at the table and negotiate a phased closure plan for those nuclear power plants in Spain that still are in operation.”
The Almaraz plant (pictured) has an operating license until June 2020, said Sequeira, so this should not be extended.
As for the controversial uranium mine near Salamanca in Retortillo, a site through which a stream flows, later joining the Douro, environmentalists from both countries demanded that the Spanish government “immediately suspend the open-air uranium exploration project.”
The Spanish government, “should carry out a cross-border environmental impact assessment, which has never been done,” said Sequeira, adding that, “neither Spain nor Portugal has anything to gain from this project.”
José Ramon Barrueco, of the Spanish Stop Uranium movement, told Lusa that the presence of the Portuguese at the demonstration is important because the Retortilho mine will have consequences for Portugal, especially for the Douro region.
“If there is contamination of the waters of the river Yeltes, which flows into the river Douro, radioactive materials will reach the production area for p?Port wine,” said the activist.
Protesters say the Spanish government should close down the Almaraz nuclear power plant, which is located along the Tejo river in the province of Cáceres, about 100 kilometres from the border with Portugal, and should not license the uranium mine in Retortillo , about 40 kilometres from the Portuguese border.
Pedro Soares, Left Bloc MP and president of the Environment Committee participated in the demonstration and said the Portuguese parliament has agreed that the Spanish government should not authorise the mine at Retortillo and is working to this end.
“With the change of Government in Spain, a new window of opportunity opens,” so that “nuclear energy ends and there is no mine at Retortillo,” said Soares.
Miguel Martins, leader of the Green Party, also joined the march and reaffirmed that his party “is against nuclear energy and is against uranium exploration,” near the Portuguese border.
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