Spaniards Urge Submarine's Removal, Fearing Radiation Leak : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Nando Times

Spaniards urge submarine's removal, fearing radiation leak

The Associated Press

ALGECIRAS, Spain (January 21, 2001 11:24 a.m. EST - Tens of thousands of people marched through this southern Spanish town Saturday, calling for the immediate removal of a British nuclear-powered submarine awaiting repairs in Gibraltar.

Demonstrators said Saturday they fear a radiation leak from the docked submarine HMS Tireless, and warned the Gibraltar port is unequipped to handle such an emergency.

The submarine docked in Gibraltar - a British colony on Spain's southern tip - nine months ago, after a crack was found in its cooling system. Britain later acknowledged the problem was more serious, saying a design flaw might be responsible for the damage, and 12 similar submarines were recalled.

During the two-hour demonstration, just across the bay from Gibraltar, politicians, union leaders and environmentalists rallied behind a banner held aloft by children that read, "For our future." The crowd shouted "Tireless Out" and sang the Beatles song, "Yellow Submarine."

Police said 20,000 people attended the rally, but organizers put the number at 70,000.

Repairs on the submarine are scheduled to start Monday. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has said he hopes the submarine will be removed by April.

The presence of the submarine in Gibraltar has provoked concern and anger among Spaniards living nearby and strained sour relations between London and Madrid over the British colony. Assurances from both countries have done little to convince many of the 250,000 people who live near Gibraltar that there is no danger of a radiation leak.

Located at the western entrance to the Mediterranean, Gibraltar has been a source of tension for Spain since the land was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

-- Rachel Gibson (, January 21, 2001

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