Cofrentes licence extension gets regulatory approval

19 February 2021

The Spanish nuclear regulator has approved the renewal of the operating licence for Iberdrola's Cofrentes nuclear power plant near Valencia until the end of November 2030. The 1064 MWe boiling water reactor, which entered commercial operation in March 1985, is then scheduled to be decommissioned.

The single-unit Cofrentes plant (Image: CSN)

At a meeting yesterday, the plenary of the Nuclear Safety Council (Consejo De Seguridad Nuclear, CSN) approved a favourable report on Iberdrola's application for the renewal of the operating licence. The report is based on the results of assessments by the CSN, contained in 46 technical reports.

Iberdrola said it submitted in March 2020 all the required documentation, identified in the Periodic Safety Review, through which an in-depth and global assessment of the plant's safety status was made, and which served as the basis for the favourable evaluation by the CSN.

The regulator said its decision was based on "the verification of the correct operation of the plant and the maintenance of the appropriate level of security to continue its operation, as well as on the verification of the adequate response of the licensee to the requirements applicable regulations". As a result of the CSN evaluation, various proposals for improving safety have resulted, largely identified in the Periodic Safety Review.

The CSN report will now be sent to the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge for final approval of the licence extension.

Spain's fleet of seven commercial nuclear power plants generated 55.9 TWh of the country's electricity in 2019, accounting for 21.4% of its total electricity production.

In February 2018, the Spanish government published a draft energy and climate plan for 2021-2030. This estimates the contribution of different technologies to the country's power system every five years until 2030 and specifies that, at least until 2025, installed nuclear power will remain the same at around 7400 MWe. It will be reduced to 3181 MWe from 2030 onwards.

In May 2020, CSN approved a 10-year renewal of the operating licences of units 1 and 2 of the Almaraz plant until 1 November 2027 and 31 October 2028, respectively. In June last year, it approved a 10-year renewal of the operating licence of Vandellos 2 to July 2030.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News