The Salvemos Almaraz (Save Almaraz) initiative promoted by the Spanish Nuclear Youth Network has received some support during a meeting in Madrid bringing together more than 70 representatives of European (ENS-YGN) and international (IYNC) young nuclear networks, from 27 different nationalities. The initiative aims to protest against the closure of unit 1 of the Almaraz NPP planned for 2027.

In January, Spain’s Council of Ministers approved the seventh General Plan for Radioactive Waste (PGRR – Plan General de Residuos Radiactivos), proposed by the Ministry for Ecological Transition & Demographic Challenge, which sets the roadmap for treatment of wastes from NPPs. This plan, approval of which was delayed for some years, is essential to support Spain’s nuclear phase out plans. Spain now intends to close its five operating plants starting in 2027 with a completion date of 2035.

Spain currently has seven operating reactors at five NPPs. These include two pressurised water reactors (PWRs) at Almarez NPP (Extremadura), two PWRs at Ascó NPP (Tarragona), one boiling water reactor at Cofrentes NPP (Valencia), one PWR at Vandellós NPP (Tarragona) and one PWR at Trillo NPP (Guadalajara). Together they generate around 20% of Spain’s electricity. The closure will begin Almaraz 1 in November 2027 followed by unit 2 in October 2028. Then Ascó, Cofrentes, Vandellós and Trillo will close in sequence by 2035.

The deadline for reversing the closure decision on Almaraz 1and extending its operation beyond 2027 is 2024. Life extension implies the purchase of more fuel stocks, new reviews of equipment, components and systems, the extension of the individualised temporary storage facility for the management of used fue, which requires time.

The Almaraz plant generates more than 16 GWh a year and represents 7% of the energy produced in Spain. Moreover, the plant has invested more than €600m ($650m) in the maintenance and equipment upgrades in the last decade.t World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) has placed Almaraz in its highest category worldwide in view of its high standards of safety and operation.

Jóvenes Nucleares, an association that groups together young professionals and students from the Spanish nuclear sector, believes that the closure plan established in the National Integrated Energy & Climate Plan (PNIEC) must be reconsidered. The issue was discussed during the Madrid event, which was organised by Jóvenes Nucleares, a commission of the Spanish Nuclear Society. Attendees agreed on the importance of keeping Spanish NPPs in operation.