Cofrents Nuclear Plant is located in Cofrents (Valencia), in the Ayora Valley, 100 Km by road away from the city of Valencia. The plant is located next to the Embarcaderos water reservoir (from where it takes the water for cooling) at the edge of the Xúcar River, where it dumps its radioactive liquids.
The opposition against the Cofrents Nuclear Power Station has been the antinuclear movement of reference in Valencia from its origins, dating from the second half of the 1970s. In 1977 two antinuclear groups named Margarida and GEL groups (Grup Ecologista Llibertari) were created. In 1978, different committees and local environmental groups emerged opposing the new nuclear plant, many of them promoted by militant left-wing groups. There were big demonstrations already in 1978, March 1979 and, especially, on the 3rd of June of that very same year, in Ayora. The anti-nuclear component was also essential in the establishment of the most significant environmental group in Valencia, Acció Ecologista Agró, in 1981.
This antinuclear movement has continued protesting since then, even after the entry into operation of the Cofrents Nuclear Plant, which obtained its license in 1984. Over the years this movement has witnessed ups and downs related to the events of the political transition, the establishment of a moratorium on the construction of new nuclear plants, the re-nuclearization change of plans due to Algerian imports of natural gas, and international accidents and incidents related to the nuclear industry.
The debate about nuclear power in Spain was established back in the seventies in a way that can be summarized as follows: supporters have insisted that nuclear power is necessary to both reduce energy dependence on fossil fuels and meet a growing energy demand. They have also argued nuclear energy is safe and waste management is fully controllable. On the other hand, opponents have argued that nuclear power is risky, expensive, dirty, and undemocratic.
The last phase of local antinuclear mobilization is related to extending the operational period of existing nuclear power plants. This government plan has led to the creation of the Tanquem Cofrents platform, formed by the main environmental groups and other social groups and citizens in Valencia. The current operating license for the Cofrents Nuclear Plant ended on the 20th of March 2011 and has been renovated by the (PSOE) Spanish Government.
On the one hand, opponents now highlight the growing security risks due to the aging facilities after over 25 years in operation. On the other hand, proponents now claim that nuclear fission power is necessary to meet the objectives of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and fighting climate change.