Vandellos I nuclear power plant
Nuclear power in Spain

Vandellos I nuclear power plant

ConceptData
Location43890 Hospitalet de l’Infant (Tarragona)
StartupMay 1972
Shut downOctober 1979
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.

  • Future actions for the mid-term (2013 to 2018) for the site are the following:
  • Create a proposal for the modification of the Surveillance Plan
  • Analyze various dismantling strategies for the vessel.
  • Review the site’s safety.
  • Set up and launch an exit gateway for materials to leave the site.
  • Refurbishment of the low activity radioactive waste that were rejected during the decommissioning process at the second dismantling level.
  • Decommissioning of one fifth of the materials described above.
  • Make use of the results from positive experiences in other sites from Enresa.

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 (2013-2018) 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. In 2020 there are plans to carry out the main tests that ensure the reliability of the static confinement of the reactor’s vessel, which ensure the correct state of conservation conservation of the vessel’s internal structures.

The main activities carried out during 2019 are as follows:

  • Refurbishing all the low-level radioactive waste that were rejected during the decommissioning process at the dismantling level 2.
  • Analysis of various dismantling strategies for the reactor vessel, based on international projects.
  • Making use of the results of positive experiences in other sites from Enresa.
  • Technological improvements in various systems of the site.

For more information, please visit Enresa’s website.