[ RadSafe ] Nuclear Power in Spain

Joel C. cehn at aol.com
Thu Jun 11 12:29:59 CDT 2009

Spain facing key decision on use of nuclear power

Jun 11 11:16 AM - AFP News

The Spanish government will have to take a clear stand for or against nuclear power in the coming weeks when it decides whether to renew the operating licence of the oldest of the country's six nuclear plants. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose socialist government has backed the development renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, has said he wants to phase out nuclear energy in the country when the life span of its six nuclear plants expires. 

But on Monday the five-member board of the country's nuclear watchdog unanimously agreed to recommend that the Garona nuclear plant in northern Spain should get a new 10-year operating licence if it upgrades its safety equipment.? Nuclear Safety Council chairwoman Carmen Martinez Ten said the decision was taken on technical and security grounds and not for reasons of "energy policy, economics or another nature". 

The government now has until July 5, when the 38-year-old nuclear plant's licence expires, to decide whether to follow the watchdog's recommendation, which is nonbinding. Spain generates around 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear power while in neighbouring France the figure is around 80 percent. Permits for running most of the other nuclear plants will expire by 2011, or within the mandate of Zapatero's government. 

Joel I. Cehn, CHP
Oakland, California

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