Specific Environmental Radiological Surveillance Programmes
Programas de vigilancia radiológica ambiental específicos
As well as the programmes carried out in the surveillance networks, specific programmes are carried out in Spain in areas where there is waste contamination due to past practices, as described below.
Radiological surveillance on the site of the old Lobo-G plant
The old Lobo G uranium concentrates manufacturing plant was located in the municipality of La Haba (Badajoz). Classified as category 1 radioactive facility, the installation started operations in 1997 and ceased them in 1990. In 1995, its decommissioning and dismantling plan was authorised by Order of the Ministry of Industry and Energy on 15th November.
With the decommissioning and dismantling activities and the stabilization of the wastes completed in July 1997, a Resolution of the Directorate General for Energy, dated 30th January 1998, approved the start of the compliance period of five years during which a specific surveillance and control programme was carried out to check compliance with the conditions set in the decommissioning authorisation. The results of this programme showed the appropriate performance of the restoration work carried out.
Finally, the Order of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade of 2nd August 2004 declared the decommissioning of the installation, releasing part of the site with restrictions for forestry use and leaving the restored tailings dyke under a long-term monitoring and control programme.
Radiological surveillance in the Palomares area
A radiological surveillance programme has been carried out in the area of Palomares (Almería) since the military aviation accident in 1996, which dispersed metallic plutonium from nuclear devices in the area.
The CIEMAT has been responsible for carrying out this programme, which includes the monitoring of possible internal contamination of persons and measuring of the contamination levels in the area. The results show that the accident did not affect the health of the residents in the Palomares area although there is residual contamination in the surroundings.
Since 2001, given the prospects of agricultural and urban development reactivation in the area, the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) and the CIEMAT have carried out various activities resulting in the expropriation of some portions of land and the setting of restrictions on use in certain affected areas. Thus, on 17th December 2004, the Council of Ministers approved the undertaking of an energy and environmental research plan in matters of radiological monitoring, the expropriation of the land possibly affected and restrictions on use of other land showing signs of contamination, an agreement that the Council of Ministers extended to an additional 30 ha on 28th September 2007.
The CIEMAT started the activities in this plan in 2006, carrying out the radiological characterization on the surface and underground over approximately 660 ha and in April 2009 it presented the final report on this to the CSN. The report concluded that the underground contamination had very variable distributions and levels depending on the specific areas, as a function of the use and alterations that had been taking place in them, and confirmed that the contaminated land was limited to that identified in the prior surface characterization.
For its part, the CSN carried out an analysis of the final radiological characterization report on the Palomares area and then asked CIEMAT to prepare a specific plan for restoring the affected areas, including the final objectives of decontamination. The CIEMAT presented a preliminary rehabilitation plan to the CSN in 2010, which issued a favourable appraisal. Since the accident, the CIEMAT has maintained continuous communication with the US Department of Energy which, among other issues, has involved the mandatory sending of reports and the co-financing of part of the activities.
Radiological surveillance of the Inert Waste Recovery Centre (CRI-9)
Due to the accidental melting of a source of Cs-137 in 1998 in the Acerinox steelworks in Los Barrios (Cádiz), the area called CRI-9 in the Inert Waste Recovery Centre (CRI) in Palos de la Frontera, an installation to which steelmaking slag and powder was sent for its inerting, was contaminated.
The Environmental Management Company SA, (now the Environment and Water Agency of the Government of Andalusia Department of Agriculture, Fishing and the Environment) sent the CSN a study on the actions to be carried out by each of the signatory parties to ensure the radiological surveillance for normalising the centre’s activities. In 2001, after the favourable report of the CSN, the Directorate General for Energy Policy and Mines authorised the remaining of this residual material in the area, stabilising it with a layer of clay on the fronts of the contaminated discharge and establishing an environmental radiological surveillance plan, which is carried out annually.