José Cabrera nuclear power plant
Nuclear power in Spain

José Cabrera nuclear power plant

ConceptData
Location19118 Almonacid de Zorita (Guadalajara)
StartupJuly 1968
Close down30 April 2006
Current stateIn dismantling process

The José Cabrera nuclear power plant, also known as Zorita, is a site located in the province of Guadalajara that is currently being dismantled. As the first Spanish nuclear power plant, it was a technological milestone. From the start, it operated with the maximum safety guarantee. it respected and cared for its environment, always –as do all others nuclear power plants– under the supervision of the Nuclear Security Council (CSN).

Construction of the plant, a PWR pressure water reactor, began in July 1965 and lasted 36 months, as the hot functional test was performed on March 31st 1968. In June of that year, the core was loaded and initial criticality was reached. The first kilowatt-hours of electricity produced by nuclear means were launched to the Spanish national grid on July 14th 1968, and since then a power ramp up was performed that eventually led to the commercial operation of the plant.

Zorita was a technological milestone: the first Spanish nuclear power plant

Cessation of activity

The operation of this site, located in Almonacid de Zorita (Province of Guadalajara), was characterized by stable and incidence-free performance. Up until the end of its operational life (April 30th 2006), the plant committed to its main goal: to produce electricity with continuous and reliable operation.

José Cabrera produced electricity for over 38 years. During this time it helped to avoid the emission of 32.37 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere and, throughout the years, accumulated a total production of 36,515 million kilowatt/hour, the equivalent to the annual electric consumption of 25 provinces like Guadalajara. Additionally, during these its nearly four decades of operation the plant provided direct employment to 300 workers, and indirect employment to 6,000 more.

On April 30th 2006 at 23:31 hours, the José Cabrera nuclear power plant, property of what was then Unión Fenosa, was disconnected from the grid in compliance with the law issued by the Ministry of Economy. On October 14th 2002, this Ministry, with the previous report from CSN, had granted the last renewal of the Exploitation Permit up until April 30th, 2006.

José Cabrera nuclear power plant
Control room of the José Cabrera Nuclear Power Plant, Almonacid de Zorita, Guadalajara (Spain)

Dismantling Plan

After shutdown, the preparation stage for the future dismantling began. The activities to be performed prior to dismantling included processing the spent fuel (removal from the plant pool and transfer to the Individual Temporary Storage Site) and conditioning of the operating waste. On February 11th, 2012, ownership of José Cabrera was transferred to the National Radioactive Waste Company, (Enresa) for the execution of the Dismantling and Shutdown Plan. From the beginning of the dismantling process, the total mass of material generated until December 2016 is of approximately 12,000 tons. of which 6,000 t correspond to conventional material, 4,800 t to radioactive waste and 1,200 t to non-classifiable material.

The dismantling of José Cabrera nuclear power plant is currently at a 90% stage of advance

During 2019, the dismantling of José Cabrera reached its final stage. The execution of the project was at a 90% stage of advancement by the end of the year. Some of the main work this included dismantling the dome in the containment building. The work, part of the established program, involved cutting 297 pieces with plasma. Two cranes of great tonnage made it possible to safely execute this maneuver from an auxiliary platform. During 2019 dismantling reached very important levels of advancement within the current final stage of the project. The changes to the exterior physiognomy are now evident. Apart from removing the dome, the diesel and evaporator buildings, as well as waste storage structures 1 and 2, were demolished.

For more information, please visit the Enresa’s website.

José Cabrera nuclear power plant
The José Cabrera nuclear power plant at the beginning of dismantling
José Cabrera nuclear power plant
The José Cabrera nuclear power plant in present times