Vandellos I nuclear power plant
Nuclear power in Spain

Vandellos I nuclear power plant

Location43890 Hospitalet de l'Infant (Tarragona)
StartupMay 1972
Shut downOctober 1989
Current situationIn dormancy period

Vandellós I ended its activity in October 1989 after 17 years of operation due to the effects of a fire that significantly affected the site, although there were no environmental consequences regarding radioactive emissions. The propietor (Hifrensa) decided to proceed with shutdown in view of the elevated cost of restarting activity after the fire, in compliance with the requisites established by the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN).

The activities performed prior to dismantling consisted of transferring the spent fuel to France for reprocessing, conditioning and removal of the operating waste and the disassembly of those plant installations that were no longer necessary. These activities were carried out by Hifrensa.

Vandellós I is currently in its latency period. Complete dismantling will be tackled starting in 2028

During the second stage, entrusted to the National Radioactive Waste Company (Enresa), all installations, buildings and structures outside the reactor's crate were dismantled, and the crate was confined. On June 30th 2003, Enresa completed dismantling –the first dismantling in Spain– up to level 2 (which made it possible to liberate at a first stage a large part of the plant's location). The reactor was shut down at the end of the third level.

During 2004 the site was prepared for the dormancy period (for a duration of 25 years), both from the functional and organizational/personnel structure point of views. Once the reactor was sealed, most of the location was recovered.

Since then, and after the favorable assessment of CSN on December 15th 2004, the site is licensed to remain in a passive state, with the corresponding surveillance to guarantee its safety, store certain radioactive materials and ensure the confining of remaining structures. This license will be valid until the next stage of dismantling, the documentation for which must be presented to CSN at least one year in advance.

The site holds a license to remain in a passive state, with the corresponding surveillance to guarantee its safety

Vandellos I nuclear power plant
Reactor’s vessel at Vandellós I nuclear power plant, currently in dormancy period

The dormancy period lasts approximately 25 years, which allows a significant reduction of radiological levels. After this period ends in 2028, dismantling of the remaining installations will be carried out in more favorable conditions. This basically involves the concrete structure or building that houses the reactor, up to the so-called level 3 or total liberation of the plant's location - that is, complete shutdown.

During 2021, the five-year tests have been carried out, which ensure the correct state of the internal structures of the reactor, until dismantling at level 3.

Various tests and analysis ensure the correct state of conservation of the reactor vessel and its internal structures

After the multidisciplinary action plan is finished for the mid-term in order to analyze the various strategies to be applied at level 3 of dismantling, during 2019 the site was prepared for a new years of tests every five years.

The last shutdown stage at the plant will be executed by Enresa at the end of the latency period, around 2028. This will involve removing the reactor vessel and all the internal structures to fully liberate the site.

The main activities carried out during 2021 are as follows:

  • Approval of the Safety Revision for the 2016-2019 period
  • Continuation of the radioactive nuclear waste refurbishment work at the Temporary Container Storage facility
  • Commissioning of a new water tank and its connections to the water supply system, as contemplated in the Fire Prevention Protection Plan
  • Renewal of the Environmental Management System Certificate until 2024

For more information, please visit Enresa's website.

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