The crisis and the need to guarantee energy supply have moved an increasing number of countries to opt for the long-term operation of their nuclear power plants. Of the 422 reactors currently present in 33 countries, over 45% have authorizations to operate for 50, 60, 70 or even 80 years – as is the case in the United States. Another highly relevant fact is the inclusion of nuclear energy in the mechanisms of the European Union Taxonomy early this year.
Of the 422 reactors currently present in 33 countries, over 45% have authorizations to operate for 50, 60, 70 or even 80 years
Adding to the strategy of long-term operation for existing reactors is the construction of 58 units in 13 countries, and the numerous notifications of new reactors in countries with a long nuclear history, such as France and the United Kingdom, and in other countries without nuclear power plants such as Poland. In the words of Ignacio Araluce, President of the Spanish Nuclear Industry Forum, “There is active participation in these projects from the Spanish nuclear sector, which exports cutting-edge technology, products and services to over 40 countries and enjoys international recognition and prestige.”
Nuclear energy in Spain
Once again, this year, nuclear energy in Spain played an essential role thanks to its constant and steady electricity generation, contributing to the stability of the grid after a baseload operation at full power for over 8,000 hours and with performance indicators above 90%. In 2022, with just 5.98% of the total installed power, the seven Spanish nuclear reactors generated 55,893 net GWh – which amounts to 20,26% of the total electricity. These reactors were also essential to the fight against climate change, since 31.75% of the total CO2 – free electricity production last year was the result of nuclear energy.
In 2022, Spanish nuclear power plants provided 20,26% of the total electricity
Spanish nuclear power plants are always up to date, with the latest upgrades incorporated. In point of fact, with safety always as their first priority and with the work and commitment of the industry and its professionals, the President of Foro Nuclear stresses that “the owners of nuclear power plants invest around 200 million Euros every year on upgrades and improvements. For this reason, we can confirm that our nuclear power plants are safe and have the latest technology and, from a technical point of view, are prepared for long-term operation.”
From a technical point of view, Spanish nuclear power plants are prepared for long-term operation
However, as the President of Foro Nuclear has pointed out, the shutdown agenda signed in 2019 is still the current working scenario, even though the energy situation at that moment was different from the current situation. For this reason, if the Spanish Government in charge of energy policies reconsiders the aforementioned agenda, the Spanish nuclear industry will be at its disposal to analyze any proposed conditions, taking into account that it is essential to guarantee the viability of the Spanish nuclear fleet throughout its entire operative period. In his intervention, Ignacio Araluce indicated that “if we are necessary to the energy transition, we must be viable. We are electricity producers, we generate megawatts-hour. We do not understand why nuclear technology must be as penalized as it is and endure such high fiscal pressure.”