Comment & People

‘Nuclear Is Being Penalised’ / Head Of Spanish Industry Group Says Funding Is More Complicated

By David Dalton
25 February 2021

Head Of Spanish Industry Group Says Funding Is More Complicated
Ignacio Araluce: the situation is ‘alarming’. Courtesy Foro Nuclear.
Commercial nuclear power is being penalised with access to funding sources more complicated than for other clean energy sources, Ignacio Araluce, the head of Spanish industry group Foro Nuclear said.

Speaking at a webinar organised by the Madrid-based group, Mr Araluce said “we need to ensure that [nuclear energy’s] contribution to the fight against climate change is valued in accessing better financing conditions and reducing the tax burden it bears”.

Mr Araluce said recently that the combination of low market prices and increased taxes means that for the first time, Spain’s nuclear fleet of seven commercial reactors is operating with a negative operating cash flow because market prices failed to cover its operative costs, taxes and levies.

Mr Araluce called the situation “alarming” and urged the government to take action. He said the nuclear industry’s leadership and positive operating data from the nuclear fleet “reinforce the essential role of nuclear power in the energy transition as a constant, reliable and stable source of energy”.

Sama Bilbao y León, director-general of the London-based World Nuclear Association, told the webinar that nuclear energy is “a hero in the shadows” and most people do not realise the indispensable role it plays. She said nuclear is needed to stabilise the electricity grid globally. “We always need baseload power that runs every hour of the day, every day of the week and year, and that's nuclear,” she said.

Ms Bilbao y León said long-term operation is the safest way to keep energy clean. In the US many nuclear plants will operate for 60 or 80 years and, in some cases, extensions to 100 years are being considered. “If the operation of the plants is maintained safely, there is no problem in prolonging the life of the plants,” she said.

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