Press release

Nuclear power plants: Ten years leading electric production and 100% capacity during the cold wave

January 13, 2021

Spanish nuclear power plants generated 22.18% of electricity in 2020. This makes them the first source of production.

The seven nuclear reactors currently in operation in Spain (Almaraz I and II, Ascó I and II, Cofrentes, Trillo and Vandellós II) generated over one fifth of the consumed electricity, according to data from REE (the Spanish power transmission company) analyzed by Foro Nuclear.

Additionally, given the current unprecedented climate situation, it is important to highlight the role of nuclear electricity generation. During this period, all the Spanish nuclear power plants have been and continue to be at 100% of their capacity. At a time when renewable production, given the weather conditions, has been diminished, nuclear power is offering stability. Apart from this, the unusually high electricity prices would have been even higher without the contribution of nuclear power.

For the tenth consecutive year, nuclear power is the first source of electric production, with the highest number of hours of operation and the most polluting emissions avoided.

In 2020, nuclear power in Spain produced 22.18% of the total electricity

In 2020, with 7,117 MW of power (6.49% of the total), the Spanish nuclear power plants produced 55,761.9 GWh. This makes nuclear power, once again, the technology with the highest net production contributed to the Spanish electric system, 22,18% of the total. This represents 0.77 percentage points more than last year.

Nuclear technology also operated the highest number of hours, in spite of the fact that throughout 2020 there were two refueling outages in Almaraz I, Ascó I and II and Trillo. These took longer than usual, taking into consideration the strict safety sanitary COVID-19 measures. Thus, in reference to the operation factor, the Spanish nuclear fleet operated an average of 89.81% of the total hours of the year (7,835 out of the 8,784 hours in the year, since 2020 was a leap year.) This figure sets it above other technologies, as shown on the chart.

Once again, nuclear power is leading in production, hours of operation and avoided emissions

Apart from these leading positions, it must be added that nuclear power was also the source that avoided the highest number of polluting emissions to the atmosphere. Specifically, nuclear power plants contributed to 33.14% of non-polluting emissions electricity generated in Spain throughout the past year.

Over 33% of the emissions-free electricity in Spain was produced thanks to nuclear power plants

In the words of Ignacio Araluce, President of the Spanish Nuclear Industry Forum, “this leadership reflects the essential service offered by nuclear power as a reliable, stable CO2 free baseload technology. This technology is associated to a competitive, highly qualified, cutting-edge sector with international recognition that employs thousands of people to offer electricity in a stable, constant way. It is an essential service especially in these challenging times we are living.”

55,761.9 GWh Production of the Spanish nuclear power plants in 2002 55,761.9 GWh

Production of the Spanish nuclear power plants in 2002

22.18%  Electric generation from nuclear sources 22.18%

Electric generation from nuclear sources

33.14%  Electric nuclear production with no polluting emissions 33.14%

Electric nuclear production with no polluting emissions

89.81%  Operation close to 90% of the total hours in the year 89.81%

Operation close to 90% of the total hours in the year