Country profile: Spain

Summary figures for 2015

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) 2015
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
OECD Europe
OECD Total
1 878.7
NEA Total
2 073.9

* 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 conditions on nuclear safety and radiological protection imposed by the Nuclear Safety Council.

Nuclear generation

In 2015, nuclear energy provided around 20.3% of total net electricity production, a similar figure to the previous year. The average load factor of the Spanish nuclear fleet was 88.26% (without 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, which is still pending.

Front end of the fuel cycle

In 2015, the Juzbado nuclear fuel fabrication facility manufactured a total of 854 fuel assemblies containing 347.2 tU. Of this total, 480 fuel assemblies containing 207.6 tU were exported to Belgium, France and Sweden, representing 56% of the total production of fuel elements. Acquisitions of uranium concentrates were from Russia (38.0%), Niger (22.5%), Kazakhstan (16.8%), Canada (9.6%), Uzbekistan (7.4%) and Namibia (5.7%).

Back end of the fuel cycle

The main activities affecting the back end of the fuel cycle in 2015 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 the engineering and technical aspects. The CISF is tentatively expected to start operation in 2021.

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 continued during 2015, while it is expected to begin operation in 2017.

The El Cabril facility continued routine operation in 2015, managing low- and intermediate-level waste (LILW) generated at radioactive and nuclear facilities. As of 31 December 2015, the inventory of radioactive waste disposed in the facility amounted to 31 600 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 2015, 8 642 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 2015, ENRESA completed 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 beginning operation in 2016.

Legal framework

Royal Decree 1086/2015, of 4 December 2015, amending, Royal Decree 1308/2011, of 26 September 2011, on the physical protection of facilities, nuclear materials and radioactive sources, was published in the Spanish Official Gazette (BOE) on 18 December 2015. The main amendment introduced by this Royal Decree in the nuclear security regime in Spain is the establishment of on‐site response teams formed by public law enforcement agents (Civil Guard) in the nuclear power plants.

The Order of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism IET/458/2015, of 11 March 2015, regulating allocations to municipalities in the vicinity of nuclear facilities from the fund for the financing of activities included in the General Radioactive Waste Plan, was published in the Spanish Official Gazette (BOE) on 17 March 2015. This Order revises the regulation of these allocations and repeals the former ministerial order, of 13 July 1998, which governed those allocations since 1998. The most relevant amendment introduced by this order is the creation of a new type of fund to finance local development projects in order to promote the establishment of alternative economies, other than those associated to nuclear facilities.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2016

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Last reviewed: 21 December 2016