Ten more years for Spanish nuclear plant

01 August 2011

Spain's nuclear regulator has unanimously approved a ten-year operating licence extension for the two-unit Ascó nuclear power plant, covering the period 2011-2021. The Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear (CSN) has submitted its report approving the continued operation of the plant to the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, with whom the final decision on the licence extension will lie. The CSN report is based on assessments of 39 technical reports, the results from 324 inspections of the plant during the current ten-year operating licence, granted in 2001, and the results of continuous monitoring of operations. The regulator has set nine conditions which must be met at both of the units during the next ten years of operation, chief amongst which is the implementation of a plan to strengthen organizational, cultural and technical aspects at the plant. Ascó was fined €15.4 million ($21 million) by the Spanish government in 2009 after a minor release of radioactive materials during refuelling operations at unit 1, rated at level 2 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). Ascó is operated by Endesa-Iberdrola joint venture company Asociacion Nuclear Ascó-Vandellos (ANAV).