Country profile: Spain

Summary figures for 2016

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) 2016
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
OECD Europe
OECD Total
1 877.5
NEA Total
2 061.1

* Preliminary 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. Keeping 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, cannot be disregarded as long as they comply with the nuclear safety and radiological protection conditions imposed by the Nuclear Safety Council.

Nuclear generation

In 2016, nuclear energy provided around 21.4% of total net electricity production and the average unplanned capability loss factor of the Spanish nuclear fleet was 0.52%.

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 was subject to a favourable report by the Nuclear Safety Council, which was issued in February 2017. However, the operating licence renewal was denied by Ministerial Order in August 2017.

Front end of the fuel cycle

The main activities affecting the back end of the fuel cycle in 2016 continued to be focused on 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 engineering and technical aspects. The CISF is tentatively expected to start operation in 2024.

At the time of this report, additional SF Storage facilities in three NPPs – Trillo, José Cabrera (in the dismantling phase) and Ascó – are in operation. New installations of this type in Garoña and Almaraz NPPs are both under construction and another one is planned at the Cofrentes NPP. In the first two, a metal dual purpose cask will be used.
The El Cabril facility continued routine operation in 2016, managing low- and intermediate-level waste (LILW) generated at radioactive and nuclear facilities. As of 31 December 2016, the inventory of radioactive waste disposed of in the facility amounted to 32 198 m3.

The El Cabril facility has a dedicated very low-level waste (VLLW) disposal area, consisting of one cell with an estimated capacity of 30 000 m3, in operation since 2008. During 2016, Enresa completed the project for the construction of the second cell with an estimated capacity of 39 000 m3. This cell entered into operation in July 2016. As of 31 December 2016, 10 087 m3 had been disposed of in the facility.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2017

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Last reviewed: 6 November 2017