Licensing of El Cabril expansion progresses

29 February 2024

The Spanish government has issued the Environmental Impact Statement for the project to construct the southeast platform for the disposal of low and intermediate-level radioactive waste in the El Cabril disposal facility in Hornachuelos, in Córdoba province.

The El Cabril disposal facility (Image: Enresa)

In June 2022, in compliance with the provisions of the 6th General Radioactive Waste Plan, Spanish decommissioning and waste management firm Enresa presented to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) and the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) the documentation to begin the procedures for the request for the construction of new storage cells at El Cabril.

Enresa intends the Southeast Platform of El Cabril to comprise 27 storage cells, arranged in three rows of nine cells each. The new cells will cover a total area of 362.3 metres by 103.4 metres. The construction of the Southeast Platform will be carried out in two phases. In the first phase, expected to be operational in 2028, 12 cells will be built. The remaining 15 cells will be built in subsequent actions according to storage needs.

The General Directorate of Quality and Environmental Assessment of MITECO has now published the Environmental Impact Statement for the construction of the new storage cells in the Official State Gazette.

"In this way, the project, after undergoing public information, has obtained the Environmental Impact Declaration," Enresa noted. "This is a step prior to construction, for which a favourable opinion from the CSN and construction authorisation from MITECO are still necessary."

El Cabril is Spain's national disposal facility for very low, low and intermediate-level radioactive waste, which has been in operation since 1961.

Low and intermediate-level waste arrives at El Cabril in specialised transports and it is unloaded in the conditioning area or in one of the interim storage areas. Most of the waste, which is produced by nuclear power plants, arrives already conditioned in drums. Waste from hospitals, research centres or industry is treated and placed in the installations at El Cabril. The packages received are left in concrete casks. When a cask is at full capacity, it is immobilised by means of injected mortar, forming a compact block. This block is deposited in the disposal vault.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News