Westinghouse Electric Company has been awarded a contract to dismantle the reactor pressure vessel at Spain’s Jose Cabrera Nuclear Power Station (also known as Zorita). The reactor, shuttered in 2006 after 38 years of operation, is scheduled for dismantling by 2015.


Credit: Enresa

RPV dismantling work began in June 2010

The contract was awarded by Enresa, the public company in charge of the safe management, storage and disposal of the radioactive wastes produced in Spain.

It covers dismantling and segmentation of the reactor vessel internals, including the up-front engineering studies. It also includes plant modifications, equipment supply, and loading of primary and secondary waste, respectively, into multipurpose canisters for the activated material, and into dedicated containers for low- and intermediate-level waste. Westinghouse will be the lead contractor, and MONLAIN will be its main subcontractor. The project began in June 2010 and is expected to take 31 months to complete.

Jose Cabrera, also known as Zorita, is a 142MWe Westinghouse pressurized water reactor (PWR). It will become the second commercial nuclear reactor to be dismantled in Spain.

Most of the decommissioning work at Vandellos 1 had been completed by mid-2003 and is now in a dormancy phase. The last phase of decommissioning of the plant will be carried out by Enresa on completion of the dormancy period, around 2028, and will consist of removing the reactor shroud and all the internals. The site will then be completely released. The dormancy period is required for radioactivity to decay sufficiently for complete dismantling to be addressed.

“Westinghouse is proud to have been selected by Enresa to dismantle the reactor vessel internals of the first PWR built in Spain,” said Jose Emeterio Gutierrez, Westinghouse managing director, Southern Europe. “We have global decommissioning and dismantling experience and expertise, and local experts who are eager to carry out this project in a manner that exceeds our customer’s expectations.”

In March 2010, Westinghouse announced that it had been awarded a contract by EDF-CIDEN (Engineering Center for Dismantling and the Environment) to provide reactor vessel dismantling services for the Chooz A nuclear reactor, the first pressurized water reactor (PWR) in France to be fully dismantled.

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