Country profile: Spain

Summary figures for 2017

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) Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
Spain 7 55.6 21.2
OECD Europe127774.421.7
OECD Total3111 856.817.6
NEA Total 352 2 062.6 17.9

Country report

Spanish policy

The Spanish government plans to approve a Comprehensive Energy and Climate Plan that will fix the energy mix in order to comply with the European commitments regarding climate change. To that end, in July 2017, the government created a commission of experts on energy transition, which issued a report in March 2018 on various scenarios possible for energy transition. The plan will set the contribution of each source of energy to the energy mix, including nuclear energy. The aim is to guarantee the competitiveness of the economy, economic growth, job creation and environmental sustainability.

Nuclear capacity and electricity generation

At present, Spain has five NPPs with seven power reactors in operation and three shutdown reactors. The operating reactors are Almaraz I and II, Ascó I and II, Cofrentes, Trillo and Vandellós II. The shutdown reactors are José Cabrera (since 2006), Vandellós I (since 1990) and Santa María de Garoña (since 2013).
In 2017, the net nuclear electricity capacity (7.1 GWe) represented a share of 7% of the total net capacity and the net electricity generated was 55 609 GWh, representing 21.2% of total production. The Spanish nuclear fleet has demonstrated overall good performance, providing a time availability factor of 91.32% and an unplanned capability loss factor of 2.35%.

In 2017, the Santa María de Garoña NPP definitively ceased operations, after the Ministerial Order ETU/754/2017 was issued on 1 August. In May 2014, the licence holder had applied for a renewal of the operating licence until 2031. Despite the favourable report by the Nuclear Safety Council in February 2017, the renewal was denied by the aforementioned Order of 1 August. This Order considers that the plant is no longer necessary for the supply of electrical energy in accordance with security of supply, and the environmental and price conditions deemed appropriate by the Spanish government in the exercise of its planning responsibility.

Front end of the fuel cycle

In 2017, the Juzbado nuclear fuel fabrication facility manufactured 737 fuel assemblies containing 292.8 tU. Out of this total, 371 fuel assemblies containing 156.9 tU were exported to Belgium, France and Germany, representing 54% of the total production. Acquisitions of uranium concentrates were from Australia (20.1%), Namibia (14.6%), Niger (34.6%), Russia (25.1%) and Uzbekistan (5.7%).

Back end of the fuel cycle

The main activities affecting the back end of the fuel cycle in 2017 continued to be focused on the licensing process of the Centralised Temporary Storage Facility (CTSF) 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 and Fisheries, Food and Environment. Meanwhile, works related to the engineering and technical aspects are in progress. The CTSF is tentatively expected to start operation in 2024.

Currently, additional SF storage facilities in three NPPs are in operation: Trillo, José Cabrera (in the dismantling phase) and Ascó. New installations of this type at the Garoña and Almaraz NPPs are both under construction and additional one is planned at the Cofrentes NPP.

El Cabril, the facility for the management and disposal of low- and intermediate-level waste (LILW), continued routine operation in 2017. As of 31 December 2017, the inventory of radioactive waste disposed of in the facility amounted to 33 000 m3.

The El Cabril facility has a dedicated very low-level waste (VLLW) disposal area, consisting of two constructed cells, which entered into operation in 2008 and 2016. Another two cells are already authorised, and thus the four cells would complete the authorised capacity of 130 000 m3. As of 31 December 2017, 13 253 m3 had been disposed of in the facility.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2018