By Nuclear Energy Insider.
The word ‘rocambolesco’, loosely translating as ‘bizarre’, is a handy descriptor for many aspects of the Spanish energy market. But it has perhaps never been more appropriate than in the case of the closure of Santa María de Garoña, a 41-year-old nuclear plant in Burgos, Northern Spain.
In recent weeks observers have been nonplussed by a succession of about-turns, opaque statements and left-field curve balls concerning the closure of the 466MW boiling water reactor, which is operated by Nuclenor, owned by the Spanish utilities Iberdrola and Endesa.
Garoña was originally supposed to have closed down in July 2009, but was granted a potential reprieve when the regulator, the Nuclear Safety Council (Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear or CSN in Spanish), said it would be safe to operate for another decade, subject to technical upgrades.
The final word, though, went to the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade within the then-socialist government, which had traditionally adopted an anti-nuclear stance.
Perhaps hoping to strike a balance between pleasing the utilities and satisfying its voters, the administration only granted a four-year extension. Nuclenor claimed the move was an “arbitrary act without justification in law.”
However, the “curious decision by the Spanish government”, as World Nuclear News described it at the time, was nothing compared to the events that have played out this year.
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