Garoña stages a comeback

28 May 2014

Eighteen months after being shut down to avoid new taxes, the owners of Spain's Garoña nuclear power plant have applied to government to bring the plant back into operation on a longer operating licence.

Garoña (Image: Nuclenor)

The Spanish government reformed the electricity market in 2012 and imposed taxes on nuclear electricity and used fuel that would have cost Garoña around €150 million per year - about 30% of the power plant's annual revenue. Given that the plant was due to apply for a new licence, which government had limited to 2019, and would have to spend €120 million on upgrades to see out those few years, plant owner Nuclenor decided Garoña's operation was untenable. The plant was idled in December 2012 to avoid a full year of retroactive tax that would have applied if it had been in operation on 1 January, and it was declared officially shut down on 5 July 2013.

But early this year industry succeeded in lobbying for regulatory changes that made it possible for a reactor closed for reasons unrelated to safety or radiological protection to be granted a new operating licence within 12 months of its shutdown. Nuclenor is taking advantage of the new regulation and applying for a new license for Garoña to operate until 2031. This extended period is apparently long enough for Nuclenor justify the upgrades and to shoulder the tax. All the paperwork to apply for the new license was submitted to the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism on 27 May, said the company, which is a joint venture of Endesa and Iberdrola.

Representing the nuclear industry of Spain, Foronuclear welcomed the move, noting that "the overall economic impact in the last ten years of the plant is over €355 million" flowing from employment, contracting, procurement and taxes.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News