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Nuclear Moratorium in Spain

Nuclear Moratorium in Spain

The nuclear moratorium is the temporary suspension of the construction and start-up of nuclear power plants.

In 1983 in Spain a National Energy Plan was drafted in which a nuclear moratorium would be decreed in the country. The nuclear moratorium involved the blocking of 5 nuclear power plant projects out of the 7 that had been approved. Technically it was a brake on the dynamics of the development of nuclear energy in the country.

What reasons caused the nuclear motive?

There are several reasons that motivated the creation of the nuclear moratorium:

  • Technical reasons
  • Reasons derived from the claim.
  • Social conditions. Popular opposition to nuclear energy, especially in Extremadora and the Basque Country.

The "Plan Energético Nacional" and the nuclear moratorium

In 1983 a National Energy Plan was drafted in which nuclear energy in Spain was severely affected.

To adapt the national electricity production to the energy demand and to adjust the prices, the Congreso de los Diputads approved in June 1984 the National Energy Plan of 1983 (PEN-83).

The nuclear stop was the main novelty of PEN-83, ​​which consisted in the deceleration of the nuclear power plant construction program.

At that time there were 7 nuclear power plants that had authorization for their construction: the Lemóniz I-II nuclear power plant, the Valdecaballeros I-II nuclear power plants, the Trillo I-II nuclear power plants and the Vandellós II nuclear power plant. In developing the PEN-83, ​​it was considered necessary to re-adapt the current nuclear program to elect only two nuclear power plants of the seven that had authorization.

These two nuclear power plants would achieve the forecast of installed power made by the Plan itself, which was 7,600 megavations (MW).

The Lemóniz nuclear power plant was discarded because it was the most unfavorable option for the safety of people, and for the economic impact that a hypothetical nuclear accident would have entailed.

The Valdecaballeros nuclear power plant was ruled out because the investment made was less, and also had strong social and institutional opposition in the area.

Finally, the Trillo I nuclear power plants and the Vandellós II nuclear power plant had greater social and institutional acceptance in the areas of their location. For this purpose, the construction of facilities for nuclear fission was approved.

Technical repercussions of the nuclear moratorium

On the date when the nuclear moratorium was approved, some of the projects were already underway, so strategies for the conservation of what was built at that time had to be established.

In this sense, in the two groups of Lemóniz, the conservation of the construction until the date of the nuclear moratorium was maintained. In the two groups of Valdecaballeros, only maintenance tasks would be carried out, carrying out a Stop Plan foreseen in the PEN-83.

At the Trillo II nuclear power plant, no work was done because construction had not started yet.

Economic repercussions of the nuclear moratorium

Desde el punto de vista económico la inversión de los grupos propietarios de las centrales nucleares que se bloqueaban ya estaban realizadas. Para compensar las pérdidas, por Orden Ministerial, en octubre del 1983, se estabelció un porcentaje de la tarifa eléctrica que se destinaría a hacer frente a estas obligaciones. De modo que hoy en dia, una parte de la factura eléctrica todavía se destina a pagar las inversiones de proyectos de energía nuclear que nunca se han desarrollado.

The legal obligation of the nuclear moratorium was also included in the National Energy Plan of 1991 (PEN-91). This plan established a series of forecasts of the demand for electric power during the period of its validity and betting on the diversification of energy sources, fostering fossil fuels such as natural gas (non-renewable energies) and renewable energies such as energy solar energy to the detriment of nuclear energy, oil and coal (other sources of fossil energy).

In addition, a debt was recognized with the companies that own the plants in a nuclear standstill for their paralyzed assets of around 3,800 million euros at December 31, 1989.

The solution to the problem of the nuclear moratorium would come with the approval of the Law on the Regulation of the National Electric System (LOSEN) of 1994. This legal provision only affected certain nuclear power plants, especially aimed at establishing economic compensation for the damages caused by the paralysis of said plants. For this, a percentage of the electric terfa could be deducted.

This provision did not affect the lands selected for the sites of the nuclear plants in nuclear moratorium, which would continue to belong to the companies that own those facilities.

In December 1996, the Government and the electricity companies signed the Protocol for the establishment of a new regulation of the National Electric System. The result was the Electricity Sector Law of 1997, which introduced major changes to the current system.

This new law supposed a complete liberalization of the activity of production of electrical energy, so that the construction of nuclear power plants would only be subject to the regime of prior administrative authorization.

In addition, it established the system of compensations for the companies that own the nuclear power plants, definitively paralyzed, setting an individual amount for each project and a maximum term of 25 years for their full payment.

Compensations of nuclear power plants projects paralyzed definitively

The Ministerial Order of the Ministry of Economy of June 1996, established a Fund for the Securitization of Assets Resulting from the Nuclear Moratorium, as the sole assignee of the entire compensation right recognized to the electricity companies (Iberdrola, Endesa, Unión Fenosa and Comañía Sevillana of Electricity) owners of the construction projects of the nuclear power plants of Lemóniz, Valdecaballeros and Trillo II.

The annuity corresponding to 2000 and the amount pending compensation were established according to the Resolution of January 15, 2001 of the General Directorate of Energy Policy and Mines.

To determine the amount pending compensation on December 31 of each year, a separate prior audit of each project is carried out, in which the expenses caused by the maintenance, dismantling and closure programs of the plants' facilities are valued. nuclear paralyzed

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Last review: March 20, 2019