In 2021 nuclear power lost in favor of wind power, first in the ranking of electricity generation in Spain According to Ignacio Araluce, chairman of the Nuclear Industry Forum, although it continues to produce one-fifth (20.8%) of the total, after occupying it for ten consecutive years.
Araluce said, “We were the technology that produced the most in the last ten years, and we are the second this year, which makes us happy: The first was wind energy.” ecological transition only defended the fundamental role of nuclear power in this process.
Araluce stated that with 6.31 percent (7,398.7 MW) of all installed power (112,000 MW) in Spain, the seven nuclear reactors currently in operation produce 54,040 gigawatt hours at 86.7 percent of the time of the year.
In this context, the sector representative defended Turkey in his statements to Europa Press. “fundamental” contribution of nuclear power to the national electricity systemGreenhouse, which accounts for 35% of the national vehicle fleet, in addition to its relevant role in the energy transition framework, given that its production prevents 20 million tons from entering the market, as it operates with “maximum security guarantees” and provides a “solid, continuous and stable” electricity supply. gas atmosphere.
“Nuclear energy is still very important because it’s a base power, it’s stable, it’s expected, it’s always generating and it doesn’t have these ups and downs.. That’s why we are absolutely necessary in the energy transition,” said Araluce, emphasizing that 68.5 percent of Spain’s electricity production does not contain CO2 emissions, 1.5 percent more than in 2020, and that this figure is 30.36% of the emission-free electricity from nuclear. .
Renewal of usage authorizations
The explanation for losing first place is, in Araluce’s words, the fact that nuclear power maintains the same installed power and production, while renewables “grow, it makes sense” if they increase their power. This is expected to coincide with the planned shutdowns of six of the seven operational reactors in 2021, but increase production hours in 2022.
On the other hand, he noted that the operating permits of Ascó I and II (Tarragona) and Cofrentes (Valencia) plants were renewed in 2021.
Regarding the energy context, celebrated the “multiple advantages” of renewables: free fuel, low installation costs and profitable production compared to the “disadvantage” of their intermittency. Thus, it affected the wind to produce 2,100 hours of the year and 1,400 hours of the photovoltaic hour, compared to about 8,000 hours of nuclear. He pointed out that in order to feed a power plant in this way, approximately six times the current installed power must be installed in photovoltaic energy and “regulation and storage problems” must be solved.
From a European perspective, the head of the Spanish Nuclear Industry Forum describes the European Commission’s December 31 proposal as a “major endorsement” of this technology. includes nuclear in the taxonomy “not as green as necessary in the energy transition”.
“Now they see us as absolutely necessary during the transition”He congratulates Araluce, who explained that this change means being able to go to the markets to access the financing necessary for the maintenance and operation and maintenance of the nuclear park.
According to him, nuclear power in Europe produces “a movement that has never been before” and It is happy to see that steps are being taken for the construction of new facilities around the world.
On the other hand, he observed how, as a result of the war in Ukraine, countries consider this technology “very important” from a strategic point of view to reduce dependence on external resources. The price of fuel in this case does not reach 10% compared to almost 90% of gas or coal. Beyond Europe ensures that nuclear energy is “very healthy in the world”.
Spain is different from others
However, he sees the context differently in Spain, where the nuclear power plant shutdown plan agreed between the owner companies and Enresa, the national waste company responsible for their dismantling, has determined that the power plants will be shut down between 2027 and 2035.
In this time frame, which is a little more than a decade, he sees as the main challenges to be able to guarantee the economic stability of the installations, because it provides it. they are currently “choking on taxes” and they do not know the price at which their energy can be sold in the coming years. “We are concerned about the economic stability of nuclear power plants,” he warned at the meeting.
Araluce noted that the cost of nuclear generation is around 60 euros per megawatt, but the owners are selling their production for this and next year for 70 euros per megawatt.
Thus, he ruled nuclear ones don’t reap benefits falling from the sky they don’t ‘line up’ and yet they have a commitment to continue operating until closed in the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan. “It’s very difficult to make a commitment if viability is not guaranteed. Taxes remain extremely high and we don’t know at what price we can sell energy in the future,” warns Araluce, who predicts they won’t be able to. works with system losses.
So much so that the industry does not even dare to demand an extension of the closing schedule, even though it doubts that it can be fulfilled. On the other hand, he showed that he was “surprised” by the new draft of the 7th National Radioactive Waste Plan, which increased the price agreed between the plant owners and the Government for waste management by more than 2 million Euros.
“Costs have increased”
“Costs have increased and we don’t know why. Nuclear power plants had that agreement back then to continue production at a certain cost-based rate, but now, in the middle of the game, they have to pay more. That can’t be,” he denounced.
face to face future Decommissioning, reminded that this corresponds to the Government and Enresa, but the power plants are responsible for paying and do not understand that an alternative to central temporary storage (ATC) such as ATD is currently being planned as planned. To set up a warehouse at each site by 2073, when the plan predicts that the deep geological warehouse (AGP) will be ready where the waste will definitively stop.
Likewise, he criticizes the fact that if the draft plan predicts that the AGP site will be resolved in 2040 and a ten-year construction period, nuclear waste must be contained at seven sites by 2073. release the land from the center.
In any case, he reminded that, while making it clear that this option does not look good to the industry, responsibility for waste treatment corresponds to the State and payers, but cautioned: “We will not pay more than agreed and these increases are extra costs arising from other problems, not from the operation of the factories”.
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