Decommissioning milestone at Spain's Zorita plant

27 June 2022

The demolition of the last remaining large building, the turbine building, at the shut down José Cabrera (Zorita) nuclear power plant has been completed, says Spanish decommissioning and waste management firm Enresa.

Demolition of the former Turbine hall at Zorita (Image: Enresa)

The building - 30 metres in height and made of reinforced concrete - was converted to the Auxiliary Decommissioning Building, where radioactive waste from the dismantling of the active parts of the plant was conditioned.

The dismantling of the building was completed in just two months, Enresa noted.

The company added that the demolition of the building means that plant - Spain's first nuclear power plant - has now entered the restoration phase and final radiological monitoring of the site.

The single-loop pressurised water reactor at the Zorita plant, in the central municipality of Guadalajara, operated from 1968 until 2006 when it was closed by ministerial order. Although small by today's standards at 142 MWe, the plant nevertheless supplied more than 75% of Guadalajara's power requirements.

Pre-dismantling activities - carried out between 2006 and 2009 under the responsibility of the facility's operator, Union Fenosa - consisted mainly of the management of used fuel and the conditioning of operational waste.

After the completion of pre-dismantling activities and the corresponding ministerial authorisation of 11 February 2010, ownership of the plant was transferred to Enresa for decommissioning.

In 2010 Westinghouse - which originally supplied the reactor - won a contract from Enresa to dismantle the reactor vessel internals. This was followed by another contract in 2013 to dismantle the reactor pressure vessel.

Enresa began work to dismantle the dome of the containment building in late 2019.

In order to restore the site to its initial state, the Restoration Plan - which was recently approved by the Nuclear Safety Council - will ensure that the land to be released is free of residual radioactivity. During this final phase, site clean-up and final characterisation will be carried out before application is made for the declaration of decommissioning, with the aim of returning the site to its owner.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News