It's not been a very easy week for Maria Dolores de Cospedal, the general secretary of the Partido Popular. To make it worse, as so often seems to be the case her most serious problems come from within her own party. The crisis in this case has come from an unlikely source, the PP mayor of the tiny village of Yebra in the province of Guadalajara. This municipality voted the other day to bid for being the location of Spain's centralized storage facility for nuclear waste. Up to now the waste has been stored, with varying degrees of security, in the nuclear plants themselves. But now the government wants a central depot for the ever larger nuclear waste mountain. Officially, the facility is described as being temporary, but nobody seems willing to define whether temporary in this case means 10 years or 10000.
So what's the problem for the enthusiastically pro-nuclear PP? It seems that De Cospedal, who doubles as PP leader in Castilla La Mancha, is only in favour of nuclear energy when it's located in other parts of the country; despite the fact that Guadalajara is home to one active nuclear plant and another that has only recently been closed. So she has threatened the mayor of Yerba with disciplinary action for seeking to host the storage facility. It's all quite odd, if they think that nuclear energy is so clean and safe it's surprising that PP leaders don't volunteer to store the waste on their own, often extensive, properties. Whatever, De Cospedal put her foot down over the issue and then promptly found out just how little authority she has in the party as Andalucian PP leader Javier Arenas quickly announced that no action would be taken against the mayor of Yebra. Surely Maria Dolores could appeal to her boss, PP leader Mariano Rajoy, to back her up? In now typical fashion Mariano asserted the extent of his own control over the party by stating that he didn't have a firm opinion on the issue! De Cospedal has been left to fight her own nuclear war.