José Cabrera moves into decommissioning

12 February 2010

José Cabrera - Zorita (Enresa)
How the plant looks now (Image: Enresa)
A six-year process to dismantle Spain's first nuclear power plant is about to begin, after the handover of the site to decommissioning firm Enresa.


The pressurized water reactor at the José Cabrera nuclear power plant in the central municipality of Guadalajara, operated from 1968 until 2006 when it was closed by ministerial order. The nearest village to the power plant is Zorita de los Canes and the plant is often known by the name Zorita.


Although small by today's standards at 142 MWe, it nevertheless supplied more than 75% of Guadalajara's power requirements. According to Foronuclear, the Spanish nuclear trade body, it avoided the emission of over 32 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.


Ownership of the site was officially transferred from Union Fenosa to Enresa yesterday and that company has announced plans to clear the site by the end of 2015.


The first step in decommissioning a nuclear power plant is the removal of used nuclear fuel from the reactor. This work has already been carried out, and the 175 tonnes of used fuel is now kept within 12 dry storage modules in a section of the plant site.


All the rest of the plant buildings are to be cleared away in a job that was put at €135 million in 2006. An estimated 104,000 tonnes of material must be dealt with, the vast majority of which is concrete. Some 4700 tonnes of steel is expected to be recycled.


Only about 4% of the material will be radioactive, and this will be packed up for permanent disposal at El Cabril. the reactor's internal components make up about 43 tonnes of this. The main parts of the reactor's primary coolant loop will be remotely dismantled to minimise radiation exposure to workers.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News