Nuclear power plants are always available, and thus offer stability for the electric system. Except for refueling outages and maintenance stops, they operate practically 24 hours a day and 365 days a year and are a base load source that offers stability to the network.
In Spain, nuclear power plants are leaders in electric production and in the effort to stop polluting emissions. Nuclear power is the source that operates the highest number of hours, almost 90% of the total hours in one year. This percentage is well above other technologies, and reflects the availability, reliability and stability of the nuclear fleet. This makes it possible to manage this source properly and guarantees the performance of the electric system.
Over 20% of electricity
The seven Spanish nuclear reactors, located in the provinces of Cáceres, Guadalajara, Tarragona and Valencia, produced 55,843 GWh in 2019, which is 21.43% of the net electricity produced. This means that every year one out of every five times we turn on the light it is thanks to nuclear power. This technology is leader in electric production and does not depend on external agents for its correct operation.
Over one fifth of the electricity we consume in Spain comes from nuclear sources
Nuclear energy, as we mentioned, leads electric production in our country and generates over one fifth of the electricity that we consume. With just 6.55% of the net installed power (7,117 MW), Almaraz I & II, Ascó I & II, Cofrentes, Trillo and Vandellós II generate electricity safely and constantly, assuring the stability of the electric supply.
Behind this leadership and positive data is the proven capacity of the whole of the Spanish nuclear industry –present in the maintenance, operation and continuity work of the Spanish nuclear fleet– and of its capable and experimented personnel working to offer a stable, safe and constant guarantee of supply.
For the Spanish Nuclear Industry Forum, the energy transition must necessarily count on nuclear power
We have seen it. Nuclear is the technology that operates the most hours, produces the most electricity and contributes the most to avoid polluting emissions. For this reason, the continuity of the operation of Spanish nuclear reactors is an accurate energy strategy to ensure electric supply, put a stop to CO2 and maintain a capable and technological industry that creates wealth and employment and has great international projection.
Nuclear power is definitely a firm and predictable base for the guarantee of electric supply. The availability, reliability, stability and predictability that it offers, knowing that it operates constantly and regularly, makes it possible to manage the electric system properly.
Satisfying the needs of the energy supply is a strategic priority for all the world’s economies. Thus, it is a key geopolitical aspect that we cannot overlook, where nuclear power has a lot to offer.
The international geopolitical situation, along with the fact that Spain is a country without primary energy reserves, makes it necessary to have a diversified and balanced electricity mix that ensures the country is less vulnerable to external events that can take place in other economies.
Nuclear power helps achieve this stability in a relevant way. This, as we said, is thanks to the uninterrupted operation of plants and the massive generation of electricity, but also to the long-term reliability of fuel supply at competitive and predictable prices.
The long-term reliability of uranium supply at competitive and predictable prices is key in a country’s energy and geopolitical strategy
Considering the current necessities, the identified uranium reserves in the world are enough to supply all nuclear power plants for 130 years, according to the renown Red Book from the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In fact, the supply of nuclear fuel in Spain is considered national because, among other reasons, there is no need for a constant supply of fuel to the nuclear power plant and nuclear fuel is stored in the plant for at least two months before the refueling outage. This way it is possible to preview the purchase, supply and provisioning of nuclear fuel with enough time in advance. Refueling outages are programmed, leaving no room to uncertainty from international markets regarding raw energy material.