Nuclenor submits Garoña restart plan

01 October 2014

The operator of Spain's Garoña nuclear power plant, Nuclenor, has submitted documents to the country's nuclear regulator detailing how it plans to meet requirements for the plant's restart.

Garona landscape 460 (Nuclenor)
The single-unit Garoña plant (Image: Nuclenor)

At its meeting on 30 July, the Nuclear Safety Council (Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear, CSN) voted in favour of issuing a complementary technical instruction to Nuclenor on documentation and additional requirements associated with its operating licence renewal application for the Garoña plant.

The technical instruction sets out requirements grouped into eight specific areas. Among these are those associated with the current situation of cessation of operation; those related to long-term operation; and, inspections and tests on the reactor vessel. The CSN has also included design modifications based on lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident and the subsequent European stress tests.

Nuclenor announced on 30 September - the deadline set by the CSN - that it had submitted a "detailed work plan" for when it anticipates meeting each of its requirements. The company said that it considers the CSN's requirements as "very demanding," but added it "will continue to work in all areas that gives priority to maintaining the best technical and safety conditions at the plant."

In September 2012, Nuclenor - a joint venture of Endesa and Iberdrola - missed the deadline to submit an operating licence renewal application for Garoña meaning that it had to shut by the time its licence expired on 6 July 2013. However, the reactor was closed in mid-December 2012 to avoid a full year of retroactive tax charges for which Nuclenor would have been liable if it was operating on 1 January 2013.

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 submitted a licence renewal application for Garoña to the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism on 27 May, requesting a licence for Garoña to operate until 2031. The ministry subsequently forwarded this to CSN for evaluation.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News