The nuclear plant closure schedule is not touched

The Government maintains two faces with the nuclear energy without this causing any problem. As in other matters, the Executive is capable of defending one position and the opposite, which has led it to defend the benefits of nuclear energy in Europe as a “Net Zero” clean technology during the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU while, at the same time at home maintains the scheduled nuclear blackout.

In a parliamentary responsethe Government maintains that “There are no plans to reconsider the scheduled closure schedule of the nuclear power plants currently in operation”which in his opinion does not imply “any contradiction” between the existence of the calendar to which the question refers and that the president of the Nuclear Safety Council can preside over European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG)since its functions will be to advise and assist it in the establishment of European standards on the safety of nuclear installations, among other functions.

In response to the question of the PP deputies Juan Bravo, Guillermo Mariscal and Juan Diego Requena Regarding whether there may be a contradiction and a lack of certainty for Spanish energy policy, defending nuclear closure positions in Spain and voting favorably in Europe for nuclear energy, the Government responds, briefly, that “there is no contradiction” since Each Member State decides its energy mix in its own energy supply and, therefore, in the PNIEC 2021-2030, the orderly closure of Spanish plants is contemplated in Spain after “the consensus reached between the different actors involved.” He also considers it normal – or does not see it as contradictory – that the president of the Nuclear Safety Council can preside over the Group of European Nuclear Safety Regulators (ENSREG), since his functions will be to advise and assist it in the establishment of European standards on nuclear safety. nuclear facilities, among other functions.

The sector asks to reconsider

The Government thus maintains the roadmap that has been set regarding nuclear energy and that goes against the trend of the rest of Europe, with the exception of Germany, which after closing its park, has substantially increased its emissions by having to resort to coal. This same week, Foro Nuclear has called on the Executive to rethink the closure that the sector and the Government agreed to in 2019 because, as they claim, the energy panorama has changed a lot since then. In his opinion, nuclear energy is a source that guarantees energy supply at a good price and safely and does not depend on the weather like wind or photovoltaic for which they want to replace it. “Someone should think about whether nuclear should not work until we have a consolidated alternative to a technology that generates 20% of the energy, that is competitive and that helps reduce emissions and combat climate change,” said the president of the sector lobby. , Ignacio Araluce, in a meeting with the media.

In 2023, nuclear power generated 20.3% of the system’s total electricity, four times its installed power, which amounts to 5.71% of the total (7,117 MW) in a “stable and guaranteed supply” manner. “It’s always there when you expect it”said Araluce, who highlighted the 7,626 hours that nuclear energy provided of the 8,600 that the year has.

Expensive replacement

Regarding this generation capacity, the president of Foro Nuclear added that technologies such as photovoltaics or wind generated 2,040 and 1,515 hours, respectively, and, furthermore, concentrated at certain times of the day, when there is wind or sun. «When they produce, there is plenty of energy. But renewables need gigantic storage to replace nuclear power plants,” according to Araluce. And not only that. According to Foro Nuclear calculations, to replace current nuclear production, it is necessary quadruple the installed power of wind energy or quintuple that of photovoltaics.

To achieve such renewable production goals, the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) provides for the mobilization of an investment of 294,000 million euros, of which 85% will be privateto reach 81% renewable production in 2030. Against this, existing nuclear plants generate more than 20% of total electricity with an annual investment of 200 million euros for maintenance. And the extension of its useful life It is not a utopia. As Araluce recalled, all the reactors in Spain, except for Trillo, are of American technology. And this country has already given the green light to extend the operating license of its plants until they are 60 years old, although this plan would surely imply a greater investment to renew the plants.

The presence of nuclear in the energy mix is ​​not only defended by the sector. A recent report by the technology consultancy Capgemini assures that it will have to be tripled to achieve decarbonization objectives.