Spain's nuclear power plants have almost completed the implementation of additional safety measures introduced in response to the accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant five years ago, the country's nuclear industry forum Foronuclear has announced.
In the weeks following the Fukushima accident, the European Council requested a review of safety at European nuclear power plants when faced by challenging situations. After carrying out stress tests at all of Europe's nuclear power plants, the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group issued an action plan in June 2012. Later on that year, Spain's Nuclear Safety Council approved a national action plan to implement actions and measures to strengthen the safety of its plants, and approved a revision of that plan in 2014.
According to Foronuclear, Spanish nuclear power plants have now completed over 80% of the work required under the country's action plan. It said these actions and measures can be divided into two groups: improving the protection of plants against extreme natural phenomena; and, reinforcing the ability of plants to respond to emergency situations.
Foronuclear said that almost all work to protect plants from natural phenomena - including floods and earthquakes - has now been completed. Meanwhile, most of the work to improve emergency response capabilities - such as the addition of portable equipment and more cooling systems - as well as establishing a central emergency support centre has already been completed or is in its "final implementation stage".
"Nuclear power plants are solidly prepared to face foreseen events at their design bases," Foronuclear said. "In addition, the plants have additional margins to face with sufficient guarantees any extreme events beyond their design bases as well as the consequences of these events."
Foronuclear said the modifications made to Spanish nuclear power plants over the past few years "reinforce the assurance of their long-term operation". It said, "The complete set of studies, analyses and improvements introduced after the lessons learnt, in addition to the modernization and updating of each reactor, offer a very appropriate horizon for their long-term operation, just as is being done in many countries with nuclear facilities."
Spain's fleet of seven operating nuclear power reactors - which all started up in the 1980s - generate about one-fifth of the country's electricity.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News