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Power firms agree on route to close Spain’s oldest nuclear plant

https://www.reuters.com/article/spain-energy-nuclearpower/power-firms-agree-on-route-to-close-spains-oldest-nuclear-plant-idUSL8N2193XV

MADRID, March 22 (Reuters) – Spain’s main electricity providers have reached an agreement to renew the life of the country’s oldest nuclear plant until its planned closure, the company that operates the site said on Friday.

The Almaraz plant in Western Spain is the first nuclear reactor slated for closure in a calendar which foresees all seven in the country going offline between 2027 and 2035.

Phasing out nuclear power, which provides around a fifth of Spain’s electricity, is part of a package of energy market proposals that was one of the last gambits of the Socialist government before parliament was dissolved ahead of a general election next month.

A disagreement between Almaraz’s owners, Iberdrola, Endesa and Naturgy, over how much to invest to keep the plant running rumbled on close to a March 31 licence renewal deadline, putting the plant at risk of an earlier closure.

The firms will now apply to keep the site’s two reactors running until 2027 and 2028 respectively, on condition they will spend no more than 600 million euros on them, three sources with knowledge of the talks said.

Endesa had resisted adding any spending limits to a protocol signed last week setting out the closure dates, but a spokesman for the company said it was pleased with the deal.

We are very satisfied with the agreement because it fulfils the protocol signed last week which allows the plants to keep operating,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman added that the agreement also applied to two other nuclear power stations in which it holds majority stakes, whose licences likewise need renewing.

Iberdrola and Naturgy declined to comment.

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March 23, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Spain | Leave a comment

Spain plans to close all nuclear plants by 2035

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/spain-plans-to-close-all-nuclear-plants-by-2035-11239490, 13 Feb 19, MADRID: Spain aims to close all seven of its nuclear plants between 2025 and 2035 as part of plans to generate all the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2050.

Energy Minister Teresa Ribera announced the move on Tuesday (Feb 12), just as the Socialist government gears up to call an early national election in anticipation of losing a budget vote.

Overhauling Spain’s energy system, which generated 40 per cent of its mainland electricity from renewable sources in 2018, will require investment of 235 billion euros (US$266 billion) between 2021 and 2030, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said last month.

Ribera said the government would present a draft plan to combat climate change, which had been due to be sent to the European Union for approval by the end of last year, to parliament on Feb 22.

Under a draft bill prepared last year, the government aims to ban sales of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars from 2040 and encourage the installation of at least 3,000 megawatts a year of renewable capacity such as wind farms and solar plants.

Phasing out nuclear power, which accounts for a little over 20 per cent of mainland Spain’s electricity, was a campaign pledge for the governing Socialists, who took office last summer after toppling their conservative predecessors in a confidence vote.

Spain’s nuclear plants, which started operating between 1983 and 1988, are owned by Iberdrola, Italian-owned Endesa, Naturgy and Portugal’s EDP.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | politics, Spain | Leave a comment

Solar power for 97 Spanish grand hotels

Observer 30th Dec 2018 Spain’s state-owned chain of paradores, the grand hotels often housed in ancient castles and monasteries, has announced that all 97 of its establishments will use only electricity from renewable sources from the start of the new year.

The 90-year-old chain said the decision to switch to green electricity had been made for both environmental and symbolic
reasons. “Paradores is a company that supports sustainable tourism in every sense of the word,” said its chair, Óscar López Águeda. “What’s more, as a public company, we also want to set an example when it comes to investments that encourage energy saving and responsible  consumption.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/30/spain-paradores-solar-power-pledge

December 31, 2018 Posted by | decentralised, Spain | Leave a comment

Spain will close the last of its nuclear reactors and coal power plants before 2030

Euractiv 15th Nov 2018 Spain will close the last of its nuclear reactors and coal power plants
before 2030, according to State Secretary for Energy José Dominguez, who
made the announcement shortly after Madrid pledged to work towards a
completely renewable electricity system. Dominguez said on Thursday (15
November) that the current socialist government does not plan to extend the
lifespan of any of its nuclear reactors beyond their current 40-year
shelf-life. Spain’s oldest reactor is more than 37 years old, so
according to current plans will shut up shop in 2021, while its newest just
celebrated its third decade of operation, and will go offline in 2028.
https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/spain-to-nix-nuclear-and-coal-power-by-2030/

November 19, 2018 Posted by | politics, Spain | Leave a comment

Court order. USA Veterans Affairs must reveal numbers of troops exposed to radiation after 1966 Spanish nuclear disaster

Court forces VA to reveal extent of veterans’ contamination in Spanish nuclear disaster https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/11/14/court-forces-va-to-reveal-extent-of-veterans-contamination-in-spanish-nuclear-

November 15, 2018 Posted by | health, incidents, Legal, Spain, USA | Leave a comment

In 1966 USA lost a hydrogen nuclear bomb over Spain – environmental and health repercussions continue

When America lost a nuclear bomb,  Fosters.com,  By D. Allan Kerr news@seacoastonline.com 11 Nov 18, In January 1966, an American B-52 bomber collided mid-air with a refueling tanker off the coast of Spain. The resulting fiery crash claimed the lives of seven crew members.

While the loss of life was devastating, there was potential for even greater catastrophe – the B-52 was carrying four fully-loaded hydrogen bombs.

Three of the bombs were located within 24 hours, in the vicinity of a Spanish fishing village called Palomares. The fourth was nowhere to be found.

With the Cold War mired in a deep chill, the United States dispatched an entire Navy armada to try to locate the missing bomb, which was believed to have gone into the Atlantic Ocean. Among those involved in the search was a 23-year-old Navy officer named Donald Craig.

Craig was an ensign at the time, having graduated the previous year from Officer Candidate School at Newport, Rhode Island. He was serving aboard his first vessel, the minesweeper USS Sagacity (MSO 469).

As it happened, Sagacity was near Barcelona, Spain, on a Mediterranean cruise when the tragedy occurred. The minesweeper was dispatched to the scene and over the next several weeks took part in the massive search for the missing nuke.

Craig is now 76 years old, retired, and a longtime resident of Kittery Point, Maine. He still recalls the hunt for the missing nuclear bomb, and the race to get to it before the Soviet Union.

He also remains frustrated on behalf of fellow veterans who say they are dealing with adverse health effects from radiation exposure during the incident – with no assistance from the government that sent them there.

“We knew nothing,” Craig said recently of the possible aftereffects. “We were just out there doing our job.”

A disaster begins

It should have been a routine operation…………

At one point the Navy lost the bomb again in the process of bringing it to the surface, and it sank even deeper into the ravine. Eventually, the bomb and an unmanned vehicle, which had become entangled in its parachute lines, were hauled onto the deck of the submarine rescue ship USS Petrel nearly three months after the initial tragedy.

But then the United States government had to deal with a whole separate controversy – the environmental repercussions of an unleashed hydrogen bomb.

Plutonium blowing in the wind

Members of the U.S. Air Force and residents of Palomares were all exposed to radioactivity from the two bombs that had broken apart on land. Craig recalls winds of about 30 knots at the time.

“Plutonium was blowing in the wind, it was all over the place there,” he said. “They (Air Force personnel) were sitting on the edge of the crater eating their lunches.”

An area of about one square mile was contaminated, including the village’s tomato crop. American servicemen removed this soil and brought it back to South Carolina for disposal.

But in a rather bizarre attempt to show there was no danger, the U.S. government fed the contaminated tomatoes to our troops for “breakfast, lunch and dinner,” according to a June 2016 New York Times article. The U.S. ambassador to Spain and the Spanish minister of tourism swam at a nearby beach in front of a crowd of reporters to prove the waters were safe.

“If this is radioactivity, I love it!” Ambassador Angier Biddle Duke told the media.

Somehow, no civilians on the ground were seriously harmed by falling debris from the aircraft collision. America pledged to the Spanish government the site would be cleared of contamination.

“The main objective here is to leave Spain as we found it,” Duke told LIFE magazine back in 1966.

But as recently as 2015, then-Secretary of State John Kerry and Spain’s foreign minister agreed to negotiate a binding agreement to resume cleanup efforts and further removal of contaminated soil from the site. While no substantive findings have verified serious health issues among the villagers, studies of wildlife such as snails have turned up high radioactive levels.

Craig, however, is particularly outraged by the treatment of Air Force veterans who took part in cleanup efforts at Palomares and now say they are suffering ill health effects as a result. The 2016 Times article featured several former servicemen now suffering from cancer and other ailments.

The Air Force has long insisted there were no serious adverse effects from the incident, so these conditions are not covered under Veterans Administration benefits. An estimated 1,600 veterans took part in the cleanup.

“That shouldn’t happen. They should absolutely be taken care of,” Craig said. ”(The government) did not look after their safety, and there are a lot of people suffering for it now.”

Last year, a number of veterans filed a lawsuit in Connecticut over disability benefits they were denied because the Pentagon refused to release records and reports related to the incident………….

D. Allan Kerr is the author of “Silent Strength,” a book about the 1963 loss of the nuclear Navy submarine USS Thresher. http://www.fosters.com/news/20181111/when-america-lost-nuclear-bomb

November 12, 2018 Posted by | history, incidents, Spain, USA | Leave a comment

Australian company Berkeley Energia’s bid to open uranium mine is knocked back by Spain

Spain to block Berkeley uranium mine project – sources, CNBC , Belén Carreño, 16 Oct 2018  The Spanish government has decided not to deliver the permits necessary to open the European Union’s only open-cast uranium mine near Salamanca, dealing a serious blow to Australian mining company Berkeley Energia’s plans.

The project was granted preliminary approval in early 2013 but has since faced local opposition………
A neighbouring mine run by public company ENUSA was previously in operation near the site in Retortillo in Salamanca province, but closed in 2000 after it failed to turn a profit.
The price of uranium fell heavily following Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 and for years struggled to recover…

October 18, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, Spain | Leave a comment

Nuclear pollution: Spain’s six radioactively contaminated sites

Six sites in Spain have radioactive contamination, nuclear agency admithttps://elpais.com/elpais/2018/10/04/inenglish/1538636406_969260.html

Yet none of the areas are officially classified as contaminated ground due to a legal limbo MANUEL PLANELLES, English version by Susana Urra.Madrid 4 OCT 2018

Spain’s Nuclear Security Council (CSN) has admitted the existence of radioactive contamination in an area located between Madrid and Toledo, as EL PAÍS revealed a few weeks ago. The agency also lists five more contaminated sites whose existence was previously known.

However, none of the six zones listed by the CSN are officially classified as contaminated ground because Spain has yet to produce a formal inventory of sites affected by radioactive leaks, a full decade after a royal decree ordered one to be drafted.

The CSN said that the Nuclear Energy Law needs to be amended first in order for the inventory to go ahead. And since 2008, no government has made any moves in this direction. In this legal limbo, the agency in charge of Spain’s nuclear security is simultaneously stating that these contaminated sites exist, but that they are not officially listed as such.

On November 7, 1970, several dozen liters of highly radioactive liquid from a spent nuclear fuel reprocessing operation leaked from the Juan Vigón National Nuclear Energy Center, located inside Madrid’s university campus. The liquid spilled into the sewer system and reached the Manzanares river; from there it flowed to the Jarama River, to the adjoining irrigation canal, and to the Tagus River.

The Franco regime, which was busy developing an atomic bomb under the Islero Project, hushed up the accident and the existence of contaminated soil, which it collected after draining the Jarama canal. The sludge considered to be least contaminated was then buried in eight ditches alongside the waterway. The legacy is still there, covered with weeds and lacking warning signs of any kind.

In its release, the CSN said that the Ecological Transition Ministry is working on legal changes to facilitate the approval of an official list of contaminated sites in Spain. This, said the oversight body, will help determine the need for cleanup operations or access restrictions.

“There are several sites showing radioactivity originating from human activity,” says the release. However, the CSN says that “it is estimated that there is no significant radiological risk.”

Besides the eight ditches along the Jarama, which are contaminated with cesium-137 and strontium-90, the CSN lists five other areas whose existence was already known. At the top of the list is Palomares, in southeastern Spain, where a US B-52 bomber collided in midair with a refueling plane on January 17, 1966, dropping four hydrogen bombs. While the bombs did not explode and nobody was killed, two of them released plutonium across the land.

There are two more contaminated sites on the Tinto River in Huelva province. One is located in the marshes of Mendaña, on the Tinto’s estuary, where there are high levels of cesium-137; the other site is near the spot where the Tinto meets the Odiel, and it contains significant amounts of radium-226.

Also on the list is El Hondón, a rural area in Cartagena (Murcia), which contains phosphate sludge and uranium-238; the last site is in the Ebro reservoir in Flix (Tarragona), where there was also phosphate sludge and uranium-238, although the CSN said that the sludge has already been removed from the site.

On Wednesday, the environmental groups Ecologistas en Acción and Jarama Vivo staged a protest in one of the ditches along the Jarama, where they placed symbolic warning signs. “A mere visual inspection of the site clearly shows how easy it is to access,” said these groups in a release. This lack of oversight has meant that, over the years, some of the earth may have been moved around, “causing a possible risk of radioactive contamination to the local population.”

“Right now there is no guarantee whatsoever that this toxic waste hasn’t been moved and scattered,” said Raúl Urquiaga, of Jarama Vivo. “In fact, some of the sites are in the same spots as infrastructure such as the A-4 bypass, roads and transmission towers.”

October 5, 2018 Posted by | environment, Spain | Leave a comment

Thousands protest against uranium mine in Spain

 Mining.com 10 June 18 Valentina Ruiz Leotaud Spanish media are reporting that between 3,000 and 5,000 people hailing from different cities in Spain, as well as from Portugal and France, rallied this weekend in Salamanca to express their rejection to a uranium mine being built in the Retortillo municipality.

June 11, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Spain, Uranium | Leave a comment

Santa Maria de Garona plant in northern Spain to shut down

Spain will shut down country’s oldest nuclear plant http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/spain-shut-countrys-oldest-nuclear-plant-48966632 1 Aug 17The Spanish government says it’s closing the country’s oldest nuclear power station because of lack of support among political parties and companies involved to keep it open.

Energy Minister Alvaro Nadal said Tuesday the license for the Santa Maria de Garona plant in northern Spain would not be renewed as there was too much uncertainty surrounding the plant’s viability.

Production at the 46-year-old Garona was halted in 2012 when its operator, Nuclenor, objected to a new tax. Its board recently failed to reach agreement on keeping the plant open.

Environmentalists have long claimed that the plant is outdated, although Spain’s Nuclear Security Council this year said it could continue operating.

Spain has seven other nuclear reactors that produce some 20 percent of the country’s electricity.

August 2, 2017 Posted by | politics, Spain | Leave a comment

Vulnerable to Climate Change – Murcia, Spain

From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots  Global warming will not affect everyone equally. Here we look at seven key regions to see how each is tackling the consequences of climate change, Guardian, John Vidal, 23 June 17

“………Murcia, Spain

For Wolfgang Cramer, scientific director of the Mediterranean Institute for Biodiversity and Ecology in Aix-en-Provence, France, climate change impacts are already visible not only in the vicinity of Murcia, but across much of the Mediterranean basin. If pledges to cut emissions are not met, catastrophe looms.

He and his colleague Joel Guiot, a paleoclimatologist, last year studied pollen locked in layers of sediment over the past 10,000 years and compared them with projections about climate and vegetation from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

If warming is allowed to rise to 2C, the scientists concluded, much of southern Spain and the Mediterranean basin could become desert. Their paper, published in Science, was shocking because it showed that even a small temperature increase could be enough to create ecological havoc in a very heavily populated region with relatively wealthy countries.

They warned that North African countries would see increased temperatures and drought that would drive the southern deserts further north; that deserts would expand in the Middle East, pushing temperate forests higher into the mountains; and that ecosystems not seen in the Mediterranean basin in more than 10,000 years could develop.

“We are more certain of the drying trend in the region than almost anywhere else on the planet. Temperatures have risen 1C globally but 1.4C in the Mediterranean region. The trend is for it to become ever warmer,” says Cramer.

Increasing temperature, he says, drives droughts. “More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means rising temperatures, less precipitation and then more drying that leads to desertification.”

Meanwhile, water stress, heat waves and an extended drought linked to climate change in the eastern Mediterranean has been widely implicated in the long Syrian war and an underlying driver of conflict in Middle East and North African countries.

The World Resources Institute concurred in 2015 that the Mediterranean basin was a climate hotspot when it placed 14 of the world’s 33 most water-stressed countries in 2040 in the Middle East and North Africa region. “Drought and water shortages in Syria likely contributed to the unrest that stoked the country’s 2011 civil war. Dwindling water resources and chronic mismanagement forced 1.5 million people, primarily farmers and herders, to lose their livelihoods and leave their land, move to urban areas, and magnify Syria’s general destabilisation,” it said.

The fast-growing, heavily populated region is climatically vulnerable, it concluded. The food supplies and the social balance of places like Palestine, Israel, Algeria, Lebanon and Jordan are all highly sensitive to even a small change in water supplies. As climate change intensifies, communities face grave threats from both droughts and floods.

The combined impact of many more people, higher temperatures and changing weather patterns on the region’s already scarce freshwater resources poses further potential for conflict. But optimists hope it could force compromise between competing states and water users. Rural areas already have no option but to switch to more efficient irrigation systems and drought tolerant crops, and urban areas are learning to conserve water…..

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/23/from-heatwaves-to-hurricanes-floods-to-famine-seven-climate-change-hotspots?CMP=share_btn_tw

June 24, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Spain | 1 Comment

A promising first: hybrid wind power storage plant in Spain using batteries

Battery storage paired with wind farm in ground-breaking Spanish trial, REneweconomy By Sophie Vorrath on 30 May 2017


The first hybrid wind power storage plant in Spain using batteries

A world first hybrid renewables trial, pairing a grid-connected wind farm with lithium-ion battery storage and energy management software, has been switched on in Spain, in a bid to boost the integration of variable-generation renewables into electricity networks around the world.

The project, led by Spanish wind energy giant Acciona, will use in-house developed “simulation” software to control the battery storage systems at a specially developed hybrid power plant, which is located next to Acciona’s experimental wind farm at Barasoain (Navarra)…..http://reneweconomy.com.au/battery-storage-paired-with-wind-farm-in-ground-breaking-spanish-trial-69731/

May 31, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, renewable, Spain | Leave a comment

Almaraz nuclear incident sparks calls for probe, halt to storage plan

 Portugal news Online, BY TPN/ LUSA   12-04-2017   Environmental campaigners have called for an investigation into an unplanned stoppage at the nuclear plant at Almaraz, near the border with Portugal, while a member of the European parliament for Portugal’s governing Socialist Party said such incidents should prompt an “immediate halt” in the construction of a waste storage facility on the site.

“These incidents should prompt the Spanish authorities to immediately halt construction of the waste storage and to plan, in consultation with Portugal and the European Union, for the plant’s closure”, said EU MP Carlos Zorrinho, in a statement sent to Lusa News Agency.
While the incidents “are apparently without systemic risk (…) in the case of nuclear energy the precautionary principle and that of zero tolerance should apply”, he concluded.
Zorrinho’s comments came following an incident at the plant earlier this week, on Monday, when an unplanned stoppage occurred in one of the main pumps…….

In February, Spain and Portugal agreed to settle a dispute involving plans to build a nuclear waste storage facility at Almaraz with the help of European Union mediators.
That was after Portugal lodged a formal complaint because of Spain’s failure to carry out a full environmental impact study before advancing with the plan. http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/almaraz-nuclear-incident-sparks-calls-for-probe-halt-to-storage-plan/41642?utm_content=buffer6ac89&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

April 14, 2017 Posted by | Spain, wastes | Leave a comment

By 2100 Southern Spain headed to become a desert, with climate change

drought1Climate change rate to turn southern Spain to desert by 2100, report warns, Guardian, , 28 Oct 16 

Mediterranean ecosystems will change to a state unprecedented in the past 10,000 years unless temperature rises are held to within 1.5C, say scientists. Southern Spain will be reduced to desert by the end of the century if the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, researchers have warned.

Anything less than extremely ambitious and politically unlikely carbon emissions cuts will see ecosystems in the Mediterranean change to a state unprecedented in the past 10 millennia, they said.

The study, published in the journal Science, modelled what would happen to vegetation in the Mediterranean basin under four different paths of future carbon emissions, from a business-as-usual scenario at the worst end to keeping temperature rises below the Paris climate deal target of 1.5C at the other.

Temperatures would rise nearly 5C globally under the worst case scenario by 2100, causing deserts to expand northwards across southern Spain and Sicily, and Mediterranean vegetation to replace deciduous forests.

Even if emissions are held to the level of pledges put forward ahead of the Paris deal, southern Europe would experience a “substantial” expansion of deserts. The level of change would be beyond anything the region’s ecosystems had experienced during the holocene, the geological epoch that started more than 10,000 years ago.

“The Med is very sensitive to climatic change, maybe much more than any other region in the world,” said lead author Joel Guiot of Aix-Marseille University. “A lot of people are living at the level of the sea, it also has a lot of troubles coming from migration. If we add additional problems due to climate change, it will be worse in the future.”

He said that while his study did not simulate what would happen to production of Mediterranean food staples such as olives, other research showed it was clear the changes would harm their production. Climate change has already warmed the region by more than the global average – 1.3C compared to 1C – since the industrial revolution.

The real impact on Mediterranean ecosystems, which are considered a hotspot of biodiversity, could be worse because the study did not look at other human impacts, such as forests being turned over to grow food……. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/27/climate-change-rate-to-turn-southern-spain-to-desert-by-2100-report-warns

October 29, 2016 Posted by | climate change, Spain | 3 Comments

Spain – the cradle of renewable energy

Spain aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy, company director says, ABC News 

October 24, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Spain | Leave a comment