Country profile: Spain

Summary figures for 2014

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.

Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid
Nuclear electricity generation
(net TWh) 2014
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
OECD Europe
1 888.0

* 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 available capacities. Having in mind that nuclear energy contributes both to the diversification of energy supply and to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear power plants, which nowadays imply 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 2014, nuclear energy provided around 20.4% of total net electricity production, a similar but slightly increased figure compared to the previous year. The average load factor of the Spanish nuclear fleet was 88.4% (not considering the Garoña NPP).

In July 2013, the definitive shutdown of the Santa María de Garoña NPP was declared by ministerial order. As this declaration was not motivated by safety reasons, in May 2014, the licence holder applied for a renewal of the operating licence until 2031. This renewal is subject to a favourable report by the Nuclear Safety Council.

Front end of the fuel cycle

In 2014, the Juzbado nuclear fuel fabrication facility manufactured a total of 856 fuel assemblies containing 324.8 tU. Of this total, 672 fuel assemblies containing 239.8 tU were exported to Belgium, France and Sweden, representing 78% of the total production of fuel elements. Acquisitions of uranium concentrates were from Russia (41.4%), Niger (33.9%), Australia (11.6%), Uzbekistan (6.4%), Namibia (4.9%) and South Africa (1.8%).

Back end of the fuel cycle

The main activities affecting the back end of the fuel cycle in 2014 continued to be focused on launching the licensing process of the centralised interim storage facility (CISF) for spent fuel (SF) and high-level waste (HLW) in Villar de Cañas (province of Cuenca).

According to the Regulation on Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities, licensing starts with preliminary and construction authorisations. In January 2014, the National Company for Radioactive Waste (ENRESA) submitted an application for these authorisations to the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. Previously, in August 2013, ENRESA had submitted an application to initiate the required environmental impact assessment to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Meanwhile, works are in progress in relation to the engineering and technical aspects. The CISF is tentatively expected to start operation in 2018.

As for independent spent fuel storage installations (ISFSIs) at nuclear power plants, three are in operation following the licensing of an ISFSI at the Ascó NPP in the spring of 2013. Additionally, the licensing of an ISFSI for the Santa María de Garoña NPP began the same year and was under evaluation in 2014.

The El Cabril facility continued routine operation in 2014, managing low- and intermediate-level waste (LILW) generated at radioactive and nuclear facilities. As of 31 December 2014, the inventory of radioactive waste disposed in the facility amounted to 30 260 m3.

The El Cabril facility has a dedicated very low-level waste (VLLW) disposal area, consisting of a cell with a disposal capacity of some 30 000 m3. As of 31 December 2014, 8 365 m3 had been disposed of in the facility. The future goal is to construct an additional three cells until the authorised capacity of 130 000 m3 is attained. During 2014, ENRESA continued the project for the construction of the second cell with an estimated capacity of 39 000 m3. The project received a favourable report from the Nuclear Safety Council in January 2014 and is expected to begin operation in 2016.

Legal framework

On 21 February 2014, the Royal Decree 102/2014 on the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste was approved in order to comply with Euratom Directive 2011/70. This decree revises the provisions established on 31 October 2003 in Royal Decree 1349/2003 (repealed) on the ordering and financing of ENRESA activities. Furthermore, in an additional provision, the Regulation on Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities has been amended to establish that, if the cessation of activity is not due to nuclear safety reasons, the cessation will not be definitive, and the licence holder may apply for a renewal of the operating permit within one year from the date of the referred cessation. Such a renewal must be approved by the Nuclear Safety Council.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2015

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Last reviewed: 21 October 2015