Nuclear power plants in Spain reached operation and availability factors above 90% in 2019
May 13, 2020

Nuclear power plants in Spain reached operation and availability factors above 90% in 2019

New report “Nuclear results in 2019 and future perspectives”. Nuclear energy in Spain: leadership in production, in hours of operation and avoidance of polluting emissions.

In 2019, the seven operating nuclear reactors generated 55,824 GWh, 21.41% of the total net electric production

Load, operation and availability factors above 90%, leadership in electric production and avoiding emissions are some of the outstanding features of the operation of nuclear power plants in 2019. The report “Nuclear results in 2019 and future perspectives” also reflects the dedication of companies in the nuclear sector, striving for operative excellence, and that of highly commited and trained professionals.

Nuclear power plants in Spain reached operation and availability factors above 90% in 2019
Workers at the Ascó nuclear power plant, Tarragona, Spain
Nuclear power plants in Spain reached operation and availability factors above 90% in 2019
Workers at the Alamaraz nuclear power plant, Cáceres, Spain

For another year and for a decade now, nuclear power plants became the first source of electric production in our country. In 2019, the seven operating nuclear reactors (Ascó I and II, Almaraz I and II, Cofrentes, Trillo and Vandellós II) generated 55,824 GWh, 21.41% of the total net electric production. Additionally, nuclear power plants reached operation and availability factors above 90%.

The Spanish nuclear fleet for electric generation is an essential part of the objectives established in the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan for 2021-2030 regarding the stability of the electric system, maintaining a firm energy supply with highly competitive variable costs, without taking into acount taxes, tributes and the reduction of CO2 emissions. Nuclear power was the technology that contributed the most to mitigate climate change. Specifically, in 2019 nuclear electric production amounted to 36.15% of the emissions-free electricity generated in Spain.

The report shows that the Spanish nuclear sector, with its international renown and prestige, is present in nuclear projects in over 40 countries

However, in the opinion of Ignacio Araluce, president of the Spanish Nuclear Industry Forum, the outstanding role of nuclear power in the energy transition requires “a necessary revision of the excessive tax load that the sector is subject to. This has become more evident after the declaration of the international pandemic and its consequences in Spain”. The sharp decline in economic activity caused a significant reduction of demand for electric energy. This, along with a cut in the costs of energy prime materials in international markets, led to a great reduction of the average price of electric generation down to around €17/MWh (average prices in April 2020).

This amount does not cover the operating costs of nuclear power plants, not even the taxes and duties they are subject to, amounting to around €22/MWh. Thus, the competent authorities should review the specific fiscal framework that taxes the Spanish nuclear fleet in order to safeguard its economic viability.

Back to the sector’s results, the report highlights the important activity of the professionals and companies that compose the Spanish nuclear industry, both in international and international projects. It shows that the Spanish nuclear sector, with its international renown and prestige, is present in nuclear projects in over 40 countries.