Nuclear Politics

Spain / Nuclear Plants Should Operate For 20 More Years, Says Industry Group

By David Dalton
13 March 2023

‘No going back’ if decision is taken to close reactors
Nuclear Plants Should Operate For 20 More Years, Says Industry Group
The single-unit Cofrentes nuclear power station is due to close by 2030. Courtesy CSN.
Spain must label nuclear power a strategic energy source and create conditions for the operation of nuclear power plants for at least 20 more years, the Spanish Nuclear Society said.

In a manifesto outlining the need for nuclear, the society said the EU forecasts that electricity demand will double from now to 2050 and no single source of energy will be able to cover all needs.

“It is essential to have a balanced energy basket based on low-carbon sources that guarantee a stable, economic, safe and sustainable supply,” the society said, adding that Spain’s fleet of seven nuclear plants, which provide around 20% of the country’s electricity, operate safely, reliably and efficiently.

The growth in renewable installed capacity and development of storage technologies by 2030 foreseen in Spain’s national energy and climate plan – which is due to be reviewed this year – are “far from being fulfilled”, the society said.

The closure schedule for the Almaraz-1 and -2, Asco-1 and Cofrentes nuclear power plants would result in the loss of 4 GW of installed capacity between 2027 and 2030, 12% of Spanish electricity generation.

The society warned that if a definite decision is not been made on the contribution of nuclear energy for 2030-2050, there will be “no going back” and the final closure of Almaraz-1 in 2027 will be confirmed.

According to government plans, Almaraz-1, a 1,011 MW pressurised water reactor unit that began commercial operation in 1983, is the first plant that would have to close.

The Spanish government’s energy and climate plan specifies that installed nuclear capacity will remain at current levels of about 7,100 MW 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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