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Future of former Spanish nuclear site remains unclear via EurActive

Spain may be committed to phasing out nuclear power, but there are concerns about its older reactors and the alleged lack of transparency when it comes to addressing safety issues. EurActiv Spain reports.

European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, confirmed on Tuesday (5 April) that the executive has not yet received any information about the possible installation of a nuclear-waste storage facility at a site in northern Spain.

“The Commission expects to receive this information under Article 41 of the Euratom treaty, which governs investment projects in this field,” said Arias Cañete, adding that “to date, we haven’t received any communication referring to the possibility of installing a nuclear waste storage facility at the plant”.

Cañete was responding to a written question posed by Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) MEP Izaskun Bilbao.

Bilbao also asked the Commission to provide an update about progress made in implementing the Garoña nuclear site’s action plan, which was established by the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council’s (CSN) Complementary Technical Instructions, including measures that were formulated in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. The Commission has a supervisory role in the implementation of the plan.

[…]

The Garoña nuclear power plant, near Burgos in northern Spain, ceased power production in December 2012, as its licence was due to expire in July 2013. The CSN had initially found that it could keep operating until 2019, if the plant’s operator carried out certain technical upgrades, but this was downgraded in a compromise made by the Ministry of Industry.

Spain established a moratorium on the construction of new nuclear plants in 1983, as it pursues a policy of phasing it out as an energy source in favour of renewables. In 2011, the government lifted the 40-year-limit on reactors and allowed their operators to apply for licence renewals.

Garoña has come in for criticism because of its advanced age and alleged inability to withstand natural disasters, a fact that became evident in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, which led many national governments to perform stress tests on its nuclear facilities.

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