Survival comes with nuclear waste

Francisco Rubio Martí, 60, is a shepherd, one of those old-fashioned ones who still spend their day up in the mountains with a herd of sheep, dogs and a transistor radio. Frankly, he does not mind about any new employment prospects that there may be looming in the village. Instead, he would be delighted if there was someone to continue his profession. The remote village of Zarra hopes to win a competition for hosting a nuclear waste deposit, an investment by Spanish government worth 700 million euros. We traveled to Zarra to see what made the village of 551 inhabitants, most of them elder bachelors and idle retired people, to offer itself as a cemetery for radioactive waste. The opinion was divided. “If it was something good, they would not send it here. They would take it to Madrid or Barcelona. There are important people living there”, said one elder farmer.
Published in Helsingin Sanomat in 2010.

photos by stefano buonamici