Silos of poison and metallic drums of nuclear waste 4,000 metres deep and located 125 miles of Spain’s Galician coast had been previously released into the sea by member states Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Sweden and Britain between the years 1949 and 1982 when laws on sea pollution were slack.
Each of the countries discharged different amounts of nuclear waste with varying nuclear activity.
Therefore the levels of radiation they caused on the waters were different regardless of the tonnes disposed, which is now predicted to be around 112,000 in total.
But since then, no periodic inspections to measure water radioactivity have been carried out meaning the affect the waste is having on humans and marine life remains unknown.
The United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement: “The design of the packages for the discharges was not intended to guarantee the isolation of the radioactive elements inside the drums, but rather to ensure that they were transported intact to the seabed.
“Later it was expected that a process of slow dispersion would take place in the surrounding waters.”
They added: “The large components of nuclear facilities, such as steam generators or the main pump circuits, were discharged intact.”
It also states that six nuclear submarines have been impossible to recover due to the sheer volume of waste.
These include the Soviet K-219 and he Americans Thresher and Scorpion as well as the K-8, which suffered a fire in 1970.
Radiation levels have been estimated at 9,250 TBq, a radioactivity 200 times lower than that of the infamous nuclear disaster Chernobyl.
The incident, in April 1986, saw 31 people die when a nuclear reactor exploded in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
In 1992, high concentrations of plutonium were found in affected waters, the report explains, which indicated dangerous leaks in the drums.
Member states that have in the past released the waste have said Spain should be the country to deal with the issue but the nation argued that the drums have more than likely disintegrated, meaning their location may not be accurate.
The Spanish government also said they do not believe the situation warrants any waste management or control.
MEP José Blanco told the European Commission: “The Spanish authorities have not raised to the Commission the need for such studies.”
The IAEA also said the issue does not involve them.
They said in a statement: “The monitoring of the spills is not part of our job, we do not perform controls related to radioactive waste but we can help member states by order.”
Next month negotiations for the creation of an Oceans Constitution will kick off, which would enforce the protection of EU waters.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.