LISBON Jan 12 Portugal will appeal to the
European Commission over the planned construction by Spain of a
nuclear waste storage facility at the Almaraz power plant
because it fears cross-border environmental risks, Environment
Minister Joao Matos Fernandes said on Thursday.
Matos Fernandes spoke after talks with representatives of
the Spanish government, whose announcement on Dec. 29 of the
decision to build the storage facility took the Portuguese side
"Portugal will request the intervention of Brussels in this
case...Once accepted, the issue between neighbouring countries
will have to be resolved by the European Commission," Fernandes
said in remarks broadcast by Portuguese television after the
meeting in Madrid.
Portugal has no nuclear power reactors and the public is
generally opposed to the idea and distrustful of Spain's seven
nuclear-fuelled power plants.
Almaraz, on the River Tagus, is located just 100 km east of
the Portuguese border. The Tagus crosses into central Portugal
from Spain and meets the Atlantic Ocean near the capital Lisbon.
The Portuguese government argues that the project to build
the facility next to the nuclear power plant did not evaluate
potential cross-border impact, which is against European Union
"We are not saying there is necessarily an impact for
Portugal, but any potential impacts have to be properly studied,
which has not been done," Fernandes said.
The Spanish energy ministry declined to commment on the
dispute and the environment ministry had no immediate comment.
(Reporting By Andrei Khalip, additional reporting by Jose Elias
Rodriguez, editing by Angus MacSwan)