An IAEA assessment mission shows Spain’s strong commitment to nuclear and radiation safety
November 02, 2018

An IAEA assessment mission shows Spain’s strong commitment to nuclear and radiation safety

Recently, IAEA carried out an assessment mission composed of two peer reviews, by request from the Spanish Government, and concluded that Spain showed a strong commitment to nuclear and radiation safety, but noted that the country could face challenges in the implementation of its radioactive waste management strategy.

The team recognized the expertise and dedication of the national regulatory authorities and commended Spain for its strategy for the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel generated in the country

The mission was hosted by the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN), the Ministry for Ecological Transition, and the Spanish Radioactive Waste Management Agency (ENRESA). The team recognized the expertise and dedication of the national regulatory authorities and commended Spain for its strategy for the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel generated in the country, noting that delays in the implementation of the strategy could affect its sustainability.

Nuclear power generates around 20% of Spain's electricity. The country has seven operating nuclear power reactors and three in permanent shutdown, two of which are being decommissioned. Most of the reactor sites have interim spent fuel storage facilities, and Spain has one disposal facility for very low, low and intermediate level radioactive waste. There are plans for the construction of a facility – the Centralized Storage Facility – for higher level radioactive waste and spent fuel, but its licencing review has been temporarily halted by the Government.

The mission covered all regulated nuclear facilities and activities, as well as the national framework and programme for the management of all types of radioactive waste and spent fuel in Spain. The team met with relevant agencies, including CSN, ENRESA and the Ministry for Ecological Transition, and observed regulatory inspections at sites such as a nuclear power plant, a nuclear fuel fabrication facility and a large industrial radiography facility.

The final report for the combined mission will be provided to the Government in about three months. The Government plans to make the report public.