Ecologists in Action have warned the Supreme Court (TS), of a "maneuver", by which the Government "transfers power" to clean soil contaminated by radioactivity in Palomares, Almeria, to the Ministry of Ecological Transition(Miteco), "which would lead to a delay of many decades in rehabilitation of the land".
Jose Ignacio Dominguez (the group's lawyer) stated to Europa Press that it was a masterstroke by them to make us lose the lawsuit. "They want us not to have power because we brought it against an entity, The CSN," he said.
It informs the Supreme Court, in a document, that Monday's Royal Decree of March 29 adopts urgent measures in face of the war in Ukraine. This includes a provision that "attributes Miteco the power" in this matter, which previously corresponded to both the Nuclear Safety Council and the Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research.
Ecologists indicates that this change "may directly affect" the resolution that must be adopted regarding the contentious-administrative appeal and asks the room to take into account that the Miteco has not participated "absolutely in anything" related to Palomares and is "outside" to the accident that caused the contamination and that, on the other hand, Ciemat and CSN "have everything ready to start cleaning up immediately".
"If the Miteco assumes control in accordance to the aforementioned Royal Decree it would need to prepare a rehabilitation plan, repeat the immense work done by the Ciemat over five years. Although it is assumed that the Ministry would accept that work, it would still take several years. It would have to start over in a case it is completely unfamiliar with and whose processing corresponded 56 years ago to the Nuclear Energy Board, then the CIEMAT, and the CSN," he adds, "it would be incongruent
Ecologists in Action expands the facts in its letter. It also questions whether the Royal Decree regarding the consequences of war in Ukraine should impact the procedure. Ecologists in Action points out that the rule refers only to competition in "contaminated dirt" while the State Attorney maintained before both the National Court (and the Supreme Court) that Palomares was an "area of long-term exposure.
It adds to this that it is not a "contaminated region", contrary to what the group claims. The Miteco cannot set a date for cleaning it as established by Real. If the Miteco and the State Lawyer "agree with them" and "variate their opinions and include Palomares within the areas to be cleaned, the appeal will be lost."
"We are talking about the future. At the moment, the Palomares situation is similar to the one in our Cassation Appeal. Ecologists in Action has confirmed that none of the regulations mentioned as being violated have been repealed.
It also points out that in the event that Palomares are included in the Royal Decree-Law, "the only urgency of the change of competences liesin modifying the passive subject procedure to prevent court from ruling on urgently cleaning Palomares", it would be a violation of article 24 of Constitution.
The letter of extension of facts was presented this Monday, but, before, the Third Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the TS issued a ruling on the 1st in which it declares the appeal "concluded" and transfers that it is pending voting signaling and fail. The TS also rejected the idea of holding a public hearing because it was "unnecessary given the nature of this matter."
The Supreme Court will decide whether the CSN is competent to support the execution of Palomares Rehabilitation Plans and whether it should set a date for the cleanup of the americium- and plutonium deposits in this area of Cuevas del Almanzora.
In July 2021, the National Court rejected the claims of Ecologists-in-Action with two separate votes. It considered that the Nuclear Safety Council was not the appropriate body to address the matter. On the other hand, two magistrates ruled that the CSN had to have completed the rehabilitation and provided a reasonable time for it.
Spain should have informed European Commission, at the end 2021, of the progress made regarding the "definitive cleaning plan" by which the contaminated soil must "eliminated" to allow for "safe storage" in a "long term" facility.
The Rehabilitation Plan and cleaning of the land were recommended by the EC a decade ago, especially in zone 2, 3, and 6, "to avoid unacceptable radiological risks" and "taking into consideration the very long half-lifeof the contaminants>>>"
According to the report, there was a high level of contamination in the affected areas.