Garoña Future Uncertain After Official Shutdown

By David Dalton
9 July 2013

Garoña Future Uncertain After Official Shutdown
The Santa Maria de Garoña nuclear plant in northern Spain.

9 Jul (NucNet): Spain’s single-unit Santa Maria de Garoña nuclear power plant was officially shut down on 6 July 2013, with operator Nuclenor saying the closure was due solely to a retroactive tax on energy production and spent nuclear fuel.

Nuclenor, a joint venture between Iberdrola and Endesa, said late last year that it would close the reactor because of the new tax. Nuclenor said the measures could force it to the point of bankruptcy.

The operating licence for the reactor, which began commercial operation in 1971, has expired and Nuclenor has not applied for a new one, a statement said.

If the plant should be re-commissioned, Nuclenor would need to go through the application process for a new operational licence.

No decision has been made on the future of the plant and all options are open, although some options would not make economic sense, Nuclenor said.

Nuclenor said earlier this year that it had a balance sheet of 147 million euros (EUR) (about 190 million US dollars) on 30 September 2012, but would face paying taxes under the new law of EUR 153 million, leaving it with negative equity if operation of the reactor were to continue.

The company said the amount of tax payable would put it “well below” the equity necessary to prevent dissolution of the company.

The 446-megawatt boiling water reactor unit was disconnected from the grid on 16 December 2012 in preparation for its shutdown.

In July 2012, an order to close the plant in 2013 was revoked by the country’s industry ministry, paving the way for Nuclenor to apply for a licence to run the plant until 2019.

However, Nuclenor told the ministry it would not make the application, owing to uncertainty about the impact of planned energy sector reform and the new retroactive tax law.

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