Press release

2023: A year of momentum for nuclear energy at the European and global levels

April 23, 2024

 Presentation of the report "Nuclear results of 2023 and future perspectives"

  • The seven nuclear reactors in Spain generated 20.34% of the country's electricity, which is equivalent to the energy consumption of 15 million households
  • Nuclear energy produced 27% of the emissions-free electricity in Spain
  • Nuclear power plants were the technology that operated the highest number of hours, with performance indicators close to 90%
  • The continuity of the operation of existing reactors is a common practice in a world with 413 reactors in operation and 59 under construction
  • There are numerous plans to build new units, and a commitment from 24 countries to triple their installed nuclear power by 2050
  • The highly competent Spanish nuclear industry, at the forefront of technology, has international prestige and is present in over 40 countries
  • It is necessary to reconsider the closure of Spanish nuclear power plants, and also to review and reduce their tax burden

During the past year, a substantial shift in the perception of nuclear energy was consolidated, with growing support for this technology. This shift had already started in previous years following the energy crisis.

The International Energy Agency warned against the risks of abandoning nuclear energy. In 2023, the European Council included it in the list of strategic technologies for climate neutrality. Additionally, the conclusions document from the latest Climate Summit (COP28) incorporated nuclear energy as a means to accelerate the reduction of emissions.

It was within the framework of COP28 that 24 countries - Armenia, Bulgaria, Canada, South Korea, Croatia, United Arab Emirates, Slovakia, Slovenia, United States, Finland, France, Ghana, Hungary, Japan, Morocco, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Sweden and Ukraine - pledged to triple their installed nuclear capacity in order to achieve a balance of net zero emissions by 2050.

With 413 reactors in operation and 59 under construction, the world is embracing the long-term operation of its reactors and the construction of new plants. The Spanish nuclear industry and its professionals participate in this endeavour, leveraging their capabilities, competitiveness, experience and cutting-edge technology with their presence in over 40 countries.

Revision of the shutdown agenda for the Spanish nuclear fleet

"Spain cannot go in the opposite direction. It is becoming isolated," indicates the President of Foro Nuclear Ignacio Araluce, who considers it "necessary to reconsider the future of our plants as well as the conditions that ensure their viability"

As outlined in the report "Nuclear results of 2023 and future perspectives", the seven operating reactors in Spain competitively generated 20.34% of the electrical production, representing over 27% of the emissions-free electricity, with excellent performance indicators nearing 90%. Once again, "these numbers reaffirm nuclear energy as a key technology to achieve Spain's energy transition goals," asserts the President of Foro Nuclear.

In addition to reconsidering the shutdown, which directly affects nuclear environments, their workers, the electrical system and the entire industry, "the discriminatory tax burden they bear must also be reviewed. The excess and redundancy of taxes and fees jeopardize the viability of the plants and the entire nuclear sector. Thus, it is urgent to significantly reduce it without considering, in any case, any additional increases as is the intention of the Enresa Tax," says Araluce.

Nuclear power plants pay for their waste and dismantling

Foro Nuclear recalls that we share the principle of "the polluter pays," and as such we adhere to it. "The notion that is being pushed that the sector does not want to pay is not true. In fact, every year the Spanish nuclear fleet contributes €450 million to the Enresa Fund for the management of radioactive waste and the dismantling of nuclear power plants. However, we are not willing to accept all the extra costs not attributable to the operation of the nuclear fleet but rather derived from changes in the waste management plan or from the lack of institutional consensus," insists Araluce.

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