Nuclear Power Station in Almaraz, Spain

The Almaraz nuclear power station (two reactors of over 1000 MW each) on the Tagus River, is getting old and dangerous. There are renewed protests both in Spain and Portugal.


Description
There was the initial purpose in Spain of building two large nuclear power stations in Extremadura, much beyong the electricity needs for the region. One, Valdecaballeros, was stopped by a grassroots popular movement in the late 1970s with some support by elected politicians. The other, the Almaraz Nuclear Power Station, began to be built in 1972. The first reactor started opperating in 1981 and the second one in 1983. According to Ecologistas en Acción, between 2007 and 2010, the resident or visiting inspectors had notified the CSN (Nuclear Security Council) of 75 incidents. It is located in the county of Campo Arañuelo, refrigerated by the Tajo (Tejo, Tagus) river (that flows to Portugal at less than 100 km distance and finally to Lisbon). It is a PWR with two reactors with approximately 1045 MWe each.  There was opposition when the power station was built, and often during the many  "incidents". The water in the small dam of Arrocampo is often too hot, with damage to biological systems. There is also need for a new large investment for a "temporal" deposit for nuclear waste, since the ATC at Villar de Cañas is not being built.  The government in Spain  keeps prolonging the life of nuclear power stations. Now that the end of Almaraz's "life" is approaching there is a renewed concern. It is taking the form of a transfrontier movement in Spain and Portugal, the Movimiento Iberico Anti-Nuclear. This is an anti-nuclear movement  concerned also by a potential transboundary water conflict.  At the end of April 2016 it was reported in the press that "la central nuclear de Almaraz, se refrigera con agua del embalse de Arrocampo, en el curso del río Tajo. Este hecho convierte los problemas de Almaraz y su funcionamiento en un asunto internacional puesto que la operación de la central afecta al río, tanto en su funcionamiento normal como en un hipotético accidente, en que el agua podría hacer de vector de transmisión de la contaminación, como ya sucedió en el escape de agua radiactiva producido en 1970...  La planta se vio marcada por una larga sucesión de incidentes, errores, paradas no programadas o recargas fuera de especificación que afectaron a elementos esenciales de su seguridad. A lo que hay que sumar las más de 4.000 modificaciones de diseño realizadas en su vida, algunas de gran envergadura, como los cambios de generadores de vapor o de las cabezas de las vasijas de vapor de ambas unidades”.  This was argued in a report by  Paco Castejón, of Ecologistas en Acción, one coordinator of the Movimiento ibérico Antinuclear. On 11 June 2016 a transfrontier protest, "Fechar Almaraz. Descanse em paz", takes to the streets in Caceres. 
Basic Data
NameNuclear Power Station in Almaraz, Spain
CountrySpain
ProvinceCáceres
SiteAlmaraz
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Nuclear
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Nuclear power plants
Interbasin water transfers/transboundary water conflicts
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
La Central de Almaraz consta de dos reactores de agua ligera a presión de 2686 MW térmicos, cada uno de ellos con tres circuitos de refrigeración, y en su fabricación y construcción hay una aportación española superior al 80 por 100.
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Project Area (in hectares)1,683
Level of Investment (in USD)2,000,000,000 (when it was built in the 1970s)
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population8000
Start Date1972
Company Names or State EnterprisesIberdrola from Spain
Union Fenosa from Spain
Endesa (Endesa) from Spain
Relevant government actorsExtremadura Regional Governement
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersPlataforma Antinuclear Cerrar Almaraz, Ecologistas en Acción Cáceres, Plataforma de Afectados por la Central Nuclear de Almaraz, Coordinadora Estatal Anti-Nuclear, MIA (Movimiento Ibérico Anti-Nuclear), Adenex, Greenpeace
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
OtherRisk of nuclear accident as the reactors get old. Transfrontier conflict on the risk to the Tagus river between Spain and Portugal.
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseInstitutional changes
New legislation
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesRenewable energy
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The Nuclear Power Station is still in operation. In 2016 there are increasing protest in Extremadura but also in Portugal, downstream of the Tajo river.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

LEY Orgánica 9/2010, de 22 de diciembre, por la que se autoriza la ratificación por España del Protocolo por el que se modifica el Protocolo sobre las disposiciones transitorias, anejo al Tratado de la Unión Europea, al Tratado de Funcionamiento de la Uni
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Ley 25/1964, de 29 de abril, sobre energía nuclear:
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REAL DECRETO 229/2006, de 24 de febrero, sobre el control de fuentes radiactivas encapsuladas de alta actividad y fuentes huérfanas:
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REAL DECRETO 783/2001, de 6 de julio, por el que se aprueba el Reglamento sobre protección sanitaria contra radiaciones ionizantes:
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REAL DECRETO 1836/1999, de 3 de diciembre, por el que se aprueba el Reglamento sobre instalaciones nucleares y radiactivas:
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Ley 54/1997, de 27 noviembre, del sector eléctrico:
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REAL Decreto 35/2008, de 18 de enero, por el que se modifica el Reglamento sobre Instalaciones Nucleares y Radiactivas, aprobado por Real Decreto 1836/1999, de 3 de diciembre:
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Directiva 2009/71/Euratom del Consejo, de 25 de junio de 2009 , por la que se establece un marco comunitario para la seguridad nuclear de las instalaciones nucleares:
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References

Informe de Paca Blanco, 13 febrero 2009, Todo sobre la central nuclear de Almaraz
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Links

Web coordinadora estatal anti-nuclear:
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Media Links

El estado de la central nuclear de Almaraz preocupa en Portugal

Miembros del equipo coordinador de MIA se reunieron el 17 de abril 2016, en Mérida, con diferentes representantes de grupos ecologistas y de partidos políticos de ambos países, para informar sobre el estado actual de la central nuclear de Almara
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Expresso, por Carla Tomás. Parlamento português quer fechar central nuclear de Almaraz. 29.04.2016
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Portugal pidió a España una reunión sobre el estado de la central de Almaraz. Agencia EFE – viernes 13 mayo 2016
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1983 - Botes de humo contra una manifestación antinuclear ante la central de Almaraz. Elisa Blazquez. Cáceres 8 AGO 1983
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Parlamento unânime pelo fecho da central nuclear de Almaraz. Por El Comunista, abril 29, 2016
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Antinucleares piden la parada preventiva de Almaraz, como hizo Vandellós II con un fallo similar . Jesús Conde. El Diario 10/02/2016. Amplio informe del Foro Extremeño Antinuclear.
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2011 - interrumpieron el acceso a la central extremeña. 200 personas se concentran en Almaraz para pedir el cierre de las nucleares. EFE 27/03/2011
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Somos um movimento de cidadania em defesa do Tejo denominado "Movimento Pelo Tejo" (abreviadamente proTEJO) que congrega todos os cidadãos e organizações da bacia do TEJO em Portugal ...
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Other Documents

11 Junho 2016, Fechar Almaraz
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Meta Information
ContributorAmaranta Herrero
Last update24/05/2016
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