Spanish government approves renewal of operating licence for Cofrentes NPP

23 March 2021

Spain’s Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Challenge Demographic (Miteco) said on 18 March that it had approved a ministerial order granting the renewal of the operating authorisation for the Cofrentes NPP until 30 November 2030, the date set for its final closure. Miteco said the closure date is in line with the approved Protocol relating to the cessation schedule for operating Spanish NPPs and with the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (2021-2030).

This protocol envisages the orderly closure of the nuclear park between 2027 and 2035. The Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) in February issued a favourable opinion on the request for renewal of the authorisation submitted by plant owner, Iberdrola Generación Nuclear in March 2020.

The 1,064MWe Cofrentes NPP is Spain’s only boiling water reactor (BWR). The other six plants are all pressurised water reactors. Cofrentes, operated by Iberdrola, is the fourth NPP to extend its operating licence since the government announced plans in 2019 to close all seven plants between 2025 and 2035 as part of plans to generate all electricity from renewable sources by 2050.

The first licence renewals were approved in March 2020 for the two units at the Almaraz NPP (owned by Iberdrola -53%, Endesa -36%, and Naturgy -11%). Almaraz 1 (1,011MWe) was authorised to operate until 1 November 2027, and unit 2 (1,006MWe) until 31 October 2028. In June 2020, Vandellos 2 (1045MWe) owned by Endesa (72%) and Iberdrola (28%), was granted a licence renewal to July 2030. The unit is scheduled for permanent closure in 2034.

The two units at the Asco NPP expect renewal of their licences later this year. Asco 1 (997MWe), 100%-owned by Endesa, is due to close in 2029 and the 995MWeAsco 2 (Endesa 85%, Iberdrola 15%) in 2033. The last plant due for licence renewal in March 2023, is the Trillo NPP (1,003MWe), scheduled to close in 2035.

In 2020 nuclear energy nuclear accounted for 22.2% of electricity production, followed by wind power with 21.7%, and gas combined cycle with 17.8% of the total.

In any case, what is really relevant is that in 2020 the production of energy free of carbon dioxide emissions in Spain reached 66.9% of the total . The Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan has set as a goal that 74% of all Spanish electricity production be of renewable origin by 2030.

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