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Nuclear Plant of Garoña

Nuclear Safety Council allows Nuclenor more time to request extension

The nuclear plant of Garoña was scheduled to stop working next July 6th.

  • Nuclear plant of Garoña

    Nuclear plant of Garoña

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Spain's Nuclear Safety Council agreed on Friday to grant a new deadline to nuclear operator Nuclenor to request the extension of the operating licence of the nuclear plant of Garoña, which is scheduled to stop working next July 6th.

Members of the council Rosario Velasco and Cristina Narbona voted against Nuclenor's request, whereas Fernando Castelló, Fernando Martí and Antonio Gurrí voted in favour of the request.

Last week, the board of directors of Nucleor requested the Spanish Government to revoke the date of closure of the plant, and "keep the door open to the renewal of the existing authorization.

In 2012, Nuclenor decided to shut down the nuclear plant of Garoña, the oldest in Spain, ahead of new taxes included in a government energy reform that would render the plant unviable.

Spain introduced higher taxes on electricity generation as a measure to address an over 24 billion euro ($31 billion)energy tariff deficit after years of selling power below costs.

The energy reform would add 153 million euros of taxes on Garoña in 2013, its operator Nuclenor said in a statement, adding this would "increase current economic losses to the point of sending Nuclenor into bankruptcy."

The nuclear plant of Garoña opened in 1970 and produced about 1.4 percent of annual Spanish electricity output. Spain's industry ministry had wanted to keep Garoña open to assure a mix of energy options for the country, but Nuclenor said it would need to invest around 120 million euros in order to keep the plant running, while also facing higher taxes.

Spain relies on imports to cover its energy needs, with nuclear energy providing 20 percent of domestic electric demand in 2011.