The renewal means the Valencia-based plant, owned and operated by Iberdrola, is licensed to run for a further nine-and-a-half years to 30 November 2030 – making it the fourth of seven plants to extend its licence since the announcement of a nuclear phaseout plan in 2019.
When the present licence expires, the plant is due to permanently close.
The Cofrentes renewal follows renewals in March 2020 of the licences for the two units at the Almaraz nuclear station, which is 53% owned by Iberdrola and operated by Centrales Nucleares de Almaraz-Trillo (CNAT).
The 1,011-MW Almaraz-1 was authorised to operate until 1 November 2027 and the 1,006-MW Almarez-2 until 31 October 2028, after which they are both scheduled for permanent closure. Both are pressurised water reactor units.
In June 2020, the 1,045-MW Vandellos-2 PWR near Tarragona was granted a full 10-year renewal of the operating licence which will take it through to July 2030. Vandellos-2, owned by Endesa and Iberdrola, is scheduled for permanent closure in 2034.
Two more licence renewals are due this year for the two units at Endesa’s Asco nuclear station, both before September.
The final renewal is due in March 2023 for the 1,003-MW Trillo PWR, which is scheduled to close in 2035. Trillo is part-owned by Iberdrola and operated by CNAT.
Nuclear power leads electricity production in Spain with a share of over 22% in 2020. But Madrid-based industry group Foro Nuclear said recently the industry’s financial results have been reduced to the point where some years it has operated with losses, mainly due to the excessive tax burden it endures.
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.