Spain’s decommissioning and waste management company Enresa has completed restoration work at the site of the José Cabrera NPP (Almonacid de Zorita) in Guadalajara following demolition of the containment building. The plant is the first to be fully dismantled in Spain. Demolition of the last remaining large building at the plant, the 30-metre-high turbine building made of reinforced concrete, was completed in June 2022.

The single unit 142 MWe pressurised water reactor at the José Cabrera plant was the first NPP to begin operation in Spain in 1968 and supplied more than 75% of Guadalajara's power. After 38 years of operation, it was shut down by Ministerial Order in April 2006. Enresa then began to draft the regulatory documentation for the Dismantling and Decommissioning Plan.

Pre-dismantling activities, carried out between 2006 and 2009 by operator Union Fenosa, mostly comprised used fuel management and conditioning of operational waste. Ownership of the plant was transferred to Enresa for decommissioning in 2010. The tasks included the removal of conventional components; disassembly of radiological components; decontamination and demolition of buildings; and environmental restoration of the site.

In 2010 Enresa awarded a contract to Westinghouse, the original supplier of the reactor, to dismantle the reactor vessel internals. This was followed by another contract in 2013 to dismantle the reactor pressure vessel. Dismantling of the containment building began in November 2019.

Enresa said a total of 9500 cubic metres of selected soil has now been used to fill the hole that resulted from dismantling of the containment building. This involved loading and unloading 850 trucks. During this process, humidity, density and degree of compaction tests were carried out. The Restoration Plan – which was approved by Spain's Nuclear Safety Council – will ensure that the land is free of residual radioactivity before its release and return of the site to its owner.


Image: Soil is placed at the site of the plant's former containment building (courtesy of Enresa)