Spanish regulator extends operating licence for Cofrentes NPP

23 February 2021

The Plenary of Spain's nuclear regulator, Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear (CSN), meeting electronically, on 17 February approved a favourable report on the request for renewal of the operating licence for the Cofrentes NPP until 30 November 2030. The report will now be sent to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge for authorisation, as required by the Regulation for Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities (RINR, article 23), CSN said in a statement. The plant will be in operation for 40 years in 2024 and, therefore, will then enter Long Term Operation.

The approval includes nine limitations and conditions and five Complementary Technical Instructions (ITC), to which operation of the plant, managed by Ibedrola will be subject. The decision is based "on the verification of the correct operation of the plant and the maintenance of the adequate level of security to continue its operation, as well as on the verification of the adequate response of the owner to the applicable regulatory requirements". CSN proposed several security improvements, largely identified in the Periodic Security Review.

The Plenary also favourably reported on the radioactive waste and spent fuel management plan associated with long-term operation and on the request for renewal of the physical protection authorisation presented by Iberdrola. Earlier, opposition party leaders from Compromís, Podem and ERPV had demanded that the operating licence should not be extended.

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. When its renewed licence expires, the plant will close permanently.

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.

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