ENERGY : NUCLEAR INDUSTRY UNHAPPY OVER SPAIN'S PHASE-OUT.
The European nuclear industry association FORATOM has expressed disappointment at the decision by the Spanish government to only grant an operating license to the Santa Maria de Garona nuclear power plant (NPP) for a further four more years. The current Spanish Socialist government has committed to phasing out nuclear power, albeit without fixing a calendar date. Santa Maria de Garona NPP's current license expires on 5 July 2009. The plant was built in 1960.
FORATOM noted that the decision to allow the 466 MW Garona NPP to continue producing electricity only until 2013 was inconsistent with recommendations made by the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN). The latter had stated that the plant, owned equally by Iberdrola S.A. and Endesa, could continue operating safely for a further ten years, until 2019. In its report, the CSN noted that since 1990, Garona has reported 136 events, six of which were classified as level one "anomalies," the second lowest level on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). All others, 96%, were classified as level zero, below the scale and with no safety significance.
FORATOM Director-General Santiago San Antonio, himself Spanish, spoke of a "politically motivated" decision. "It will threaten Spain's ability to meet its energy security needs and fulfil its CO2 reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol," said San Antonio. Nuclear power accounted for some 23% of total electricity production in 2005. Spain currently has nine nuclear reactors.
Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden have recently decided to reverse their phase-out policies, whereas Spain - along with Belgium and Germany - is still formally committed to a phase-out.
An English summary is available at www.europolitics.info > Search = 253489
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|Date:||Jul 15, 2009|
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