Plant Operation

Spain / ‘Further Work Needed’ As Asco Prepares For Long-Term Operation

By David Dalton
12 September 2023

IAEA mission sees progress after similar visit in 2021

‘Further Work Needed’ As Asco Prepares For Long-Term Operation
The Asco nuclear power station in Spain has two pressurised-water reactor units.

The operator of the two-unit Asco nuclear power station in Spain has implemented a method to identify components and structures that must be managed for safe long-term operation, but further work is needed in some areas, an International Atomic Energy Agency team said.

The team called for a comprehensive programme to confirm the resistance of electrical components to harsh conditions, a so-called equipment qualification programme, is fully implemented.

The station also needs to ensure a comprehensive strategy is in place for ageing management of structural elements of electrical cabinets and panels.

The IAEA team was carrying out a safety aspects of long-term operation (Salsto) follow-up review mission to review station operator Asociacion Nuclear Ascó-Vandellos’ (Anav) response to recommendations and suggestions made during a Salto mission in 2021.

The team noted that the operator has implemented an advanced digitalisation process to ensure easy retrievability, traceability and long-term preservation of documents.

Anav has also completed full demonstration of effective ageing management in the ageing management review of passive and active mechanical components.

The Asco nuclear power station, in northeast Spain, is one of the country’s seven operational nuclear power plants at five sites. The nuclear fleet produces about 20% of the country’s electricity.

Asco has two pressurised-water reactor units. The 995-MW Unit 1 went into commercial operation in 1984 and the 997-MW Unit 2 in 1986.

The units are currently authorised to operate until 2030 for Unit 1 and 2031 for Unit 2.

The Spanish government’s energy and climate plan specifies that installed nuclear capacity will remain at current levels until at least 2025, but will be reduced to just over 3,000 MW from 2030 onwards.

A May 2021 International Energy Agency report said Spain should not rule out nuclear energy as an option beyond 2050 with reactor technology having the potential to contribute to decarbonisation through high-temperature heat supply and hydrogen production

The Foro Nuclear industry group has repeatedly urged the government to reduce what it called the “suffocating” fiscal pressure on the nuclear fleet.

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