published by WISE News Communique on May 24, 1991
(353.3502) WISE Tarragona - Now, however, it is time for the new national energy plan to be presented (it is expected to be made public by summer). Already, though, the Minister of Industry and Energy has declared that no new nuclear plants are expected to be included in this plan. More specifically, no nuclear plants are to be opened before the year 2000 -- by which time the five plants will be out of date. the new energy plan is made public, the anti-nuclear movement as well as Spanish officials believe that the electric utilities involved will ask the government to pay for these plants, which will then be abandoned.
As for the electricity expected to be needed by 2000 (some 7,000 MW), the government is trying to ensure its generation via three different sources:
Nothing, however, is official yet, except for the 1000 MW coming from France and the gas pipe line.
It was during the announcement of the plan for the pipe line that the Minister said that there would be no more nuclear plants. But at the same time, he also said that the reason was mainly economic and that the government was not giving up nuclear power completely. It was, he said, interested in nuclear power for the future and, especially, in the development of "inherently safe reactors"...
Despite this last statement, industry is very upset about the Minister's announcement. Especially since some see the mention of nuclear in the future merely as a bit of diplomacy. Also, as it happens, the Minister's statement came just as campaigning for the upcoming elections were starting up. Just how upset industry is was reflected in a television debate held in early May between industry representatives and advocates of alternatives (including WISE-Tarragona folks). The industry representatives were constantly on the defensive and felt attacked by everyone, especially the government.
A question still remains as to the operation of nuclear plants in Spain. At present, the government plans only for closure of two plants before 2000, and then only because of age (one became operational in 1968, the other in 1971). The remaining plants, too, according to government thinking, will be shut down at the end of their expected operating lives, but that will be after the year 2000. Meanwhile, however, an alternative energy plan has been developed by the Asociacion Ecologista de Defensa de la Naturaleza (Aedenat) and Economica de I.U. (a union of left political parties), calling for closure of all nuclear power plants before that date. (We will have more on this plan next issue.)
Contact: WISE-Tarragona, Apartat de Correus 741, E-43080 Tarragona, Spain; tel: (34) 77-233841
Aedenat, Campomares, 13-2 Izqda, 28013 Madrid, Spain.