The blockade of the Villar de Cañas ATC will cause an extra cost of 2,100 million

nuclear power plants they will not be active beyond 2035. President Pedro Sanchez and its Government have committed to giving the final touch to nuclear energy, in a firm commitment to renewables, rigorously complying with the planned plant closure schedule, which contemplates the cessation of activity of the last one -Trillo- within less than 13 years old. The decision, reiterated on numerous occasions, is carried out in a context of skyrocketing energy prices and in which countries such as neighboring France have opted for continue to maintain their nuclear that generate 70% of the energy consumed by citizens and represents significant savings.

Meanwhile, once the path to close the plants in the stipulated time has been decided, the debate is how to deal with waste generated and those that will be caused by the dismantling of the plants. Sánchez, at the time of disembarking in Moncloa, ruled out the main option: a large warehouse to house nuclear waste, despite the fact that its location had already been decided since 2011. The Government’s plans, to which it has been committed to the last consequences , disrupt the initial project, but the alternatives on the table also involve a high cost and the occasional complication.

One month after Sánchez’s inauguration, in July 2018, the Ministry of Ecological Transition requested the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) to suspend the authorization to build the Centralized Temporary Warehouse (ATC), which should house the waste and fuel from nuclear power plants for decades. As an option it is already being considered, according to the initial version of the 7th General Radioactive Waste Plan announced in April, the construction of seven smaller ATCs in each of the plants, a project that would mean increasing the bill for nuclear dismantling by 2,124 million. The costs of the entire process would add up to 24,435 million with the ATC of Villar de Canas (Cuenca) and 26,560 in the event that decentralized ATCs are chosen.

Doubts about the Villar de Cañas nuclear warehouse have always been present. It was during Zapatero’s first legislature when the idea arose

Doubts about the nuclear warehouse in the town of Cuenca have always been present and the debate has been permanent. It was during the first legislature of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero when the idea arose. Enresa, the public company entrusted with the management of radioactive waste, developed a project that proposed this solution, similar to that applied in other European countries. In 2006 the first design was already approved and the contracts to make the warehouse and the technical work of the CSN possible did not stop until 2020, when Sánchez’s disinterest was more than evident. In March of that year, the construction of the nuclear facilities of the Centralized Temporary Warehouse (ATC), a work valued at 272 million that was put out to tender six years earlier, was ruled out. The clashes between the socialist leaders had been constant, while in the People’s Party commitment to the project was reaffirmed. The planned date now to put it fully into operation would be 2030, but lack of interest seems to have left the option parked.

Not having the warehouse in operation, which could have been in operation a decade ago, means accumulating the spent fuel in pools at each plant and then in Individualized Temporary Warehouses (ATI), and take part of the waste to France, which implies an extra cost. The task of closing the plants will not be easy or cheap, and the Government continues to take out its wallet to face unforeseen events. The suspension of the ATC has caused a 144 million contract to be formalized a few days ago to design and build an individualized dry storage system for spent fuel in the power plants Ascó, Almaraz, Cofrentes and Vandellós II.

The current storage system covers the needs of Ascó (with two units), Vandellós II and Cofrentes to continue operating until the end of 2026, but its closing dates are 2032, 2035 and 2030, respectively. In the case of the Almaraz plant, with two units, the current ATI allows operation until its definitive shutdown, but does not have the capacity to empty its swimming pools. Meanwhile, the Trillo plant is not part of this tender since its ATI, the only one with a building, has the capacity for all the spent fuel.

With the ATC paralyzed, it has been necessary to tender the construction of an individual storage system so as not to put the activity of the plants at risk

According to the statement to which he has had access Information, Enresa has been “forced to immediately undertake the actions that ensure the management of spent fuel and the continuity of the operation of the plants as of the year 2026, equipping them with new ATIs that have storage solutions that allow carrying out the necessary recharges from 2026, as well as the emptying of its pools after the cessation of its activity”. The risk, he acknowledges, is that if on the dates indicated the plants do not have dry storage capacity for spent fuel in addition to what currently exists, there would be a stoppage or collapse in operation that would slow down the operations of the affected facilities. , with the consequent consequences on electricity production. It also points out that there would be costs for lost profits of around 1.2 million euros per day for each power plant with 1,000 MWe of power -all of them-.

Source: LA INFORMACIÓN – Lo último by

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