Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spain: Garoña nuclear plant will be closed before July 6th

This is very good news indeed. The nuclear power plant of Garoña, located near Miranda de Ebro, at the border with the Basque Country, will in the end be definitely closed within two weeks. The closure has been a persistent popular demand in the Basque Country and Castile since decades ago. 

Basic danger radius of Garoña NPP
Cities in 100 Km radius: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Bilbao, Burgos, Logroño, Santander
Cities in 150 Km radius: Iruñea-Pamplona, Donostia-San Sebastian, Soria, Palencia

Garoña NPP is the oldest nuclear facility of Spain, beginning its operation in 1971, having a license for until July 2009 and producing some 1.4% of the electric energy of the state. Contrary to rumors of its imminent closure, the license was extended to 2013, although the owner, Nuclenor, asked for 10 years of extended authorization. 

When renegotiating the lease last year, Nuclenor maneuvered in order to avoid new increased taxes to nuclear residues, letting the term for the demand of the extension to expire with the pretext of legal uncertainty. Weeks ago, their new off-term request for extension was backed by the regulator body CSN, raising many eyebrows and renewed protests. However finally there has been no agreement and the station will be closed "before July 6th", in the words of Industry Minister José Manuel Soria.

He insisted however in the closure being only for "economic reasons" and not security ones. The station has been inactive since December 2012. 

Greenpeace action against Garoña NPP
In its lifetime, the utility has got 136 incidents, six of them of category 1 or higher. In 1989, it released some 100,000 liters of radioactive water to the River Ebro; in 1990 there was a fire in the electric connections that was classified as level 3 ("major incident"); in 2001 it had another loss of some 6000 liters of radioactive water; in 2004, the vase of the reactor suffered major cracks; in 2012 a Greenpeace cell flied over the facility, dropping smoke canisters to evidence its vulnerability to hypothetical terrorist attacks. 

Most people I know born and raised in the district has important health problems, often serious cancers in their youth, which can only tentatively attributed to the radioactive contamination by the utility. 

Garoña has many similitudes with the ill-fated Fukushima Daichi NPP, including the same type of reactor, made by GE, or the dubious contention system Mark I, which has caused serious problems since the 1970s around the World.

Therefore its closure can only be cause of celebration.

Source: Naiz Info[es].

1 comment:

  1. Cycled psssed the power station in July then went into a bar in Meranda de Ebro and saw a living likeness of Homer Simpson


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