Country profile: Spain

Summary figures for 2012

The following information is from the NEA publication Nuclear Energy Data, the annual compilation of official statistics and country reports on nuclear energy in OECD member countries.

Country
Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid
Nuclear electricity generation
(net TWh) 2012
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
Spain
8
54.9
*
20.5
 
OECD Europe
135
849.0
24.0
 
Total
331
1 884.0
18.9
 

* Provisional data

Country report

Spanish policy

The Spanish government considers that Spain requires a balanced electricity mix that takes into account all energy sources and the available capacities. Having in mind that nuclear energy contributes both to the diversification of energy supply sources and to the reduction of greenhouse emissions, nuclear power plants, which today comprise a relevant generation capacity for the country, could not be disregarded whenever they comply with the conditions on nuclear safety and radiological protection imposed by the Nuclear Safety Council.

Nuclear generation

In 2012, nuclear energy provided around 20.5% of Spanish total net electricity production, with an increase of 6.4% in the nuclear energy generated compared to the previous year, due to fewer refuelling outages. The average load factor of the Spanish nuclear park was 88.8%.

The definitive shutdown of the Santa María de Garoña nuclear power plant is envisaged on 6 July 2013.

Front end of the fuel cycle

In 2012, the Juzbado nuclear fuel fabrication facility manufactured 918 fuel assemblies containing 357.4 tU. Of that total, 690 fuel assemblies containing 252.1 tU were exported to Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden, representing 75% of the total production. Uranium concentrates were acquired from the Russian Federation (34.4%), Namibia (25.5%), Niger (15.0%), South Africa (4.4%) and the HEU (highly enriched uranium) agreement (20.7%).

Back end of the fuel cycle

Main activities affecting the back end of the fuel cycle in 2012 continued to be focused on launching the licensing process for the centralised interim storage facility (CISF) for spent fuel and high-level waste. The hosting municipality, Villar de Cañas (Cuenca province), was officially nominated by the government on 30 December 2011. Villar de Cañas was among the 14 municipalities that, voluntarily, had presented their candidature, following a resolution by which a public call for this selection was launched in late 2009.

In 2012, once the land where the facility will be built was acquired, a more specific characterisation of the site (study of the geographical and geotechnical characteristics, seismicity, geology, hydrogeology, etc.) and all activities oriented to contracting the main engineering of the project began.

Next steps will be the licensing of the facility which, according to the Regulation on Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities, starts with the preliminary and construction authorisation. Tentatively, the CISF is expected to start operation in 2017.

As for individual interim storage facilities (IISFs) at nuclear power plants, there are two in operation and one in the process of licensing.

Concerning low- and intermediate-level waste (LILW), the El Cabril facility has continued managing this type of waste generated at radioactive and nuclear facilities. The inventory of disposed radioactive wastes in the facility, as of 31 December 2012, reached 28 780 m3.

With respect to very low-level waste (VLLW), the El Cabril facility has a specific VLLW disposal area, consisting of a cell with a disposal capacity of some 30 000 m3. As of 31 December 2012, 6 500 m3 have been disposed of. The aim in the future is to construct a further three cells until the authorised capacity of 130 000 m3 is attained.

Legal framework

By the end of 2012, Law 15/2012 of 27 December on fiscal measures for energy sustainability introduced new taxes applicable to energy. This law established two new taxes applicable to nuclear installations or activities: a tax on the production of spent fuel and radioactive waste as a consequence of the nuclear energy generation and a tax on spent fuel and radioactive waste storage in centralised installations.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2013

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Last reviewed: 11 December 2013