Apr 24, 2018

Nuclear Energy in Spain

Nuclear sites:

Currently, Spain has several nuclear sites that cover the complete fuel cycle: seven nuclear reactors: Almaraz I and II (Cáceres), Ascó I and II (Tarragona), Cofrentes (Valencia), Trillo (Guadalajara) and Vandellós II (Tarragona); a nuclear fuel factory in Juzbado (Salamanca) and a Low and Medium Activity Radioactive Waste Disposal at El Cabril (Córdoba).

Spain has plans for a Centralised Storage Facility for high-activity spent nuclear fuel, in Villar de Cañas (Cuenca). This facility will store all the country’s spent nuclear fuel in one single place. Until this is in operation, spentfuel is being perfectly surveyed, controlled and stored at the nuclear power plants. The management of radioactive waste generated in Spain, as well as the dismantling of nuclear sites, is the responsibility of Enresa, the National Nuclear Waste Company.

Reactors in operation:

In 2017 nuclear energy was production leader in the Spanish electric system, producing 21.17% of its total net electricity with the seven nuclear reactors currently in operation. In 2017, nuclear electric production amounted to 39.32% of the non-emissions electricity produced in Spain. With an installed power in 2017 of 7,399 MW, 7.06% of the total, Spain's seven operative nuclear reactors are essential to the stability of the electric system, as they are always available (24 hours, 365 days a year). In the last decade, nuclear energy has provided a constant, non-intermittent and emissions-free supply of one fifth of the electricity we consume.

Nuclear power plants Spain

(*) Permanent shutdown since August 2017
(**) Nuclenor: Endesa 50% and Iberdrola 50%

Santa María de Garoña, permanent shutdown:

The Spanish Minister of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda, Álvaro Nadal, announced 1st August 2017 the decision to deny the renewal of exploitation of the Santa María de Garoña Power Plant, in spite of the favourable judgment from the Nuclear Security Council. This decision does not affect the operation of the rest of the nuclear power plants in Spain. The Santa María de Garoña nuclear power plant was shut down on December 16th 2012, and since July 6th 2013 was undergoing administrative cessation of activity for reasons other than nuclear safety and radiological protection.

Nuclenor, the plant operator, is currently working on pre-dismantling, while Enresa, the National Radioactive Waste Company, prepares the necessary documentation for the application for authorization to dismantle and transfer ownership.

Nuclear power plants in dismantling phase:

In Spain, there are two nuclear power plants in dismantling phase:

The Vandellós I (Tarragona) nuclear power plant was shut down in 1989, and is in latency period since 2004 (this is a 25-year waiting period until complete dismantling).

The José Cabrera nuclear power plant (Guadalajara), also known as Zorita, was shut down on April 30th 2006 and is currently being dismantled. The Vandellós I plant was shut down in 1989 and is in dormancy since 2004 (a 25-year waiting period until total dismantling is completed).

Other sites

In addition to its nuclear power plants in operation and in the dismantling stage, Spain has other nuclear sites such as the fuel elements factory property of the company Enusa Industrias Avanzadas and located in Juzbado, in the province of Salamanca.

Moreover, the very low, low and medium level waste produced in Spain is stored, controlled and monitored at the El Cabril Storage Facility, in the province of Córdoba. The national radioactive waste company (Enresa) is in charge of managing this site. As to high level waste, it is temporarily stored at the nuclear power plants, specifically in specially-designed pools. If their storage capacity becomes saturated, then the spent fuel is stored in a dry temporary storage facility – also known as ATI. In any case, Spain should build a Temporary Centralized Storage Facility (ATC in Spanish) in Villar de Cañas, Cuenca. This industrial facility is designed to store the spent fuel and radioactive waste produced in Spain in one single place.


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