U.S. puts Palomares nuclear accident cleanup on hold until after Spain’s next government takes office

Tourism minister Fraga swims at Palomares in 1966 with U.S. ambassador. Photo: Carlos Sentís / EFE via El País

• Nuclear debris from 1966 accident of U.S. B52 bomber still awaits removal •

The United States has postponed its pledged removal of radioactive debris over a two-square-kilometer area in Palomares, Almeria, that was contaminated as a result of a 1966 air crash involving a U.S. Air Force B52 bomber armed with three powerful hydrogen bombs that fell to earth and were later found at the Almeria site.

In October, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged that the American government would participate in the cleanup and shoulder part of the 640 million euro cost of removing the remaining radioactive debris at the Palomares site, pending signature of a final agreement between Spain and the United States.

Now, the U.S. has said it wants to postpone the process of finalizing the agreement until after after current negotiations among Spain’s political parties result in a new government, which could be well into the summer of 2016 or beyond.

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