The Spanish nuclear industry is a major contributor to the well-being of society. A source of wealth, it creates thousands of jobs and boasts outstanding technological capacities that allow Spanish nuclear plants to operate with the highest safety assurances, to reach "excellent performance indicators and become leaders in production of electricity", says the Forum's president Ignacio Araluce. The Spanish nuclear sector also enjoys international recognition and prestige, and is present in over 40 countries.
Nuclear companies in Spain warrant the safe operation of Spanish reactors and participate in the entire international value chain. They develop initial studies, conceptual design, construction, fuel manufacturing, operation engineering and maintenance, supply equipment and components and participate in I+D+I programmes, waste management or site dismantling.
In order to carry out these projects, over 27,500 people work in the Spanish nuclear sector, directly and indirectly. "An industry that generates wealth and jobs, supporting thousands of families, with a clear commitment to technology and research, development and the human factor. It is capable, cutting-edge and internationally recognized", points out Ignacio Araluce.
Its capacities, experiences and leading-edge technology, applied to the services and products they provide for Spanish nuclear power plants, supporting their operation and maintenance, allow load, operation or availability factors to remain above 90%. Every year, this figure positions nuclear power plants as the technology that operates the longest number of hours and produces the highest amount of electricity.
The report "Nuclear results from 2016 and perspectives for the future" effectively reflects that nuclear power plants are the first source of electricity production, contributing 29.39% of the Spanish electricity system, and thus guaranteeing its stability. "An essential source of production thanks to its availability, reliability and security of supply, which is also free of contaminating emissions", assures Ignacio Araluce. He adds: "Nuclear energy is the ideal contributor to reach the international environmental commitments undertaken by Spain, thus contributing to a decarbonizing economy. In short, a cleaner world". In fact, nuclear production produces over 35% of the non-contaminating emissions generated in Spain, making this the technology with the greatest contribution to the reduction of contaminating gasses and particles in the atmosphere.
Guarantee of supply, production leadership and no emission of CO2 make the continuity of the Spanish nuclear fleet (just as in most countries with this technology, and bearing in mind that there is no legal limitation to plant operation in Spain) the appropriate and necessary strategy for energy transition. This transition requires consensus as well as a rigorous and technical analysis of the contributions of the different energy sources, and also needs a new regulatory framework that makes nuclear energy — an essential part of the mix — a viable source.