The Spanish Government recently decided not to renew the operation license of the Santa María de Garoña nuclear power plant beyond July 2013.
In Spain, permits to operate nuclear power stations are renewed in accordance with established procedures. The current operating license of the plant established the conditions under which the company could obtain an operating extension. Although Nuclenor met these conditions satisfactorily, as borne out by a favorable opinion issued by the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) on 5 June 2009, the government took the decision not to authorise a 10 year extension.
In the opinion of Nuclenor this decision represents a departure from the conditions established in the above-mentioned procedure. Consequently, the power plant’s board of directors has taken official legal action against the government’s decision. Professional associations, plant workers and other organisations have also expressed their opinions in favour of keeping the plant running beyond 2013.
The decision taken by the government is the result of a political strategy against nuclear energy carried out by the Socialist party in Spain. This party presented as part of its electoral manifesto a plan to close Spanish nuclear power plants at the end of their 40-years operational lifespan.
On the other side of the political spectrum, the national Right-wing party (Partido Popular), represented by its leader, Mariano Rajoy, stated that nuclear energy is the only option for Spain to meet its future energy demand. Mr. Rajoy also declared that the pre-condition for the Partido Popular supporting the government’s future plans for energy production is the renewal of the Garoña power plant’s operating license.
The Spanish Nuclear Society (SNE) also put out a press release stating that the government’s decision is not consistent with any technical, economical, social or environmental rationale but is instead a politically motivated decision.
The Spanish Nuclear Society’s opinion on the issue and other documents can be downloaded from the SNE web site at www.sne.es
For more information about this topic you can visit the following website: www.csn.es and those of the institutions and companies mentioned in this article.
The 35th Annual Meeting of the Spanish Nuclear Society, took place in Seville from 28 - 30 October 2009. The conference programme included plenary and technical sessions. The plenary sessions focused two issues of Spanish Energy Prospects for 2030 and New Nuclear Programmes.
The technical sessions took place on all three days of the Annual Meeting and where grouped together by topic. During these sessions nuclear professionals from Spain and other countries updated delegates on the latest developments. The technical issues discussed during the 35th Annual Meeting of the Spanish Nuclear Society were as follows: fuel, communications, dismantling, fusion, R+D, engineering, maintenance, nuclear medicine and other applications, new reactors, NPP operation, management and human factors, radiological and environmental protection, nuclear waste and nuclear safety.
More than 230 presentations were given during the technical sessions and more than 550 representatives of different companies, universities and institutions took part in this year’s event.
In the commercial exhibition that will ran in parallel throughout the three days of the meeting almost thirty companies and institutions presented their latest innovative activities. The exhibition will be held at the Barceló Renacimiento Hotel.
The Spanish Nuclear Industry Forum has created a digital platform called yosoynuclear.org (in English: “I am nuclear”) to promote the nuclear debate. This platform is made up of people representing all social sectors: citizens, consumers, web surfers, companies, students, academics, businessmen, and nuclear professionals. The main object of the initiative is to give a possibility to citizens to discuss nuclear energy and to facilitate a dialogue between people who are both for and against this source of energy, as well as those who have no particular opinion on the issue. The platform also seeks to create a space on the Web for all opinions to be expressed and where citizens interested on this issue can find some accurate and objective information.
In yosoynuclear.org, signatures from people wanting to support actively the use of the nuclear energy can be collected. The platform will try also to encourage the debate about future energy options in Spain without any dogmatism and by encouraging people to present their proposals, ideas and suggestions in a way that helps to maintain a transparent and objective debate.