Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Spain: Garoña nuclear power plant extended working life

The Spanish government revoked the previous decision to close down Garoña NPP in 2013. The newly speculated date for closure could then be 2019, 10 years after it was originally planned. 

The nuclear station is a clone of ill-fated Fukushima Daiichi NPP in Japan, just that it has a single reactor (instead of six). It is also the nuclear power plant closest to the Basque Country (actually at the very border) after the construction of the hyper-controversial Lemoiz NPP, at the outskirts of Bilbao, was stopped after ETA killed an engineer (and also with massive continuous popular mobilizations). While the French state has many more nuclear sites, they are all farther away from this little country.

Garoña NPP was built under the Christian-Fundamentalist regime of Gral. Franco and it is responsible of many cancers and birth defects in the immediate district, many more than the usual figures for less-radioactive areas (ref 1, ref 2).

If Garoña would suffer a major accident (let's hope not), the urban areas of Miranda de Ebro, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Bilbao, Burgos, Santander and Logroño would be in the 100 km radium, which we know from experience that should be evacuated, affecting millions and all the Basque territory in greater or lesser degree.  

It would not only affect Basques (it'd be a brutal genocide!) and neighbors but also one of two major road connections between Iberia and mainland Europe, the main cargo harbor of the Spanish state (Bilbao), ample strategical industrial areas and a key railroad junction (Miranda). 

The wider effects would surely affect also downstream the Ebro river to Zaragoza and Tortosa, ending up in the Mediterranean Sea. 

It should be obvious that the cons overpower any pros, which are a ridiculous 466 megawatts, a fraction of what Spain generates only with wind power.

However it is also obvious that a major factor delaying the closure of nuclear stations everywhere is that the cost, risks and complexities of decommissioning are so costly and complex that they generally prefer to pretend and extend... These costs were only theoretically factored in the initial plans and when the time comes to retire them, the money is just not there.

But each year of extension is a lot of increased risk for everyone.

Very specially in the case of Garoña, which has already have a rather bumpy ride. It's not just the similitude with Fukushima... it is Garoña itself. Maybe it provides jobs for a few people (who could have worked in tourism if Garoña would not be there) but it risks the lives of millions. Therefore:

Garoña itxi orain! 
Garoña decommission now!

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