US belies Spain claim on cleanup of Palomares bomb site

"No final decision has been reached regarding cleanup of the site," State Department says

The US State Department on Saturday contradicted an announcement by Spain's foreign minister to the effect that the US government was going to clean up radioactive land in Palomares "as soon as possible."

"No final decision has been reached regarding cleanup of the site," said Mark C. Toner, deputy spokesperspon for the US State Department, in reference to the 1966 accident over this fishing village in Almería, when a mid-air plane crash dropped four American hydrogen bombs in the area.

The most the US State Department will say about the matter for now is that "the governments of Spain and the United States continue to discuss remaining concerns at the highest levels."

Although the US Army removed much of the contaminated land years ago, there is still a lot of radiation in the area. Spain has made repeated efforts to get the US government to complete the cleanup.

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"At the request of the government of Spain, a US interagency technical team led by the US Department of Energy visited Madrid and Palomares in February 2011 to discuss concerns and offer technical advice on the [...] rehabilitation plan for the Palomares site," Toner said.

On Friday, Spain's Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo had announced an imminent cleanup during a news conference with his Moroccan counterpart who was visiting Madrid.

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