Sunday, 6 March 2011

Spain scraps phase-out of nuclear power
23 February 2011

Spain has reversed a policy of phasing out the nation's 7.5 GW of nuclear powered electricity, 18% of total output, and has renewed the operating licenses for three of the nation's eight nuclear reactors. According to nuclear industry blog Idaho Samizdat, Spain's Congress has ratified new legislation that means the reactors can operate for longer than 40 years.

The moves are a complete turnaround from a prior government policy of phasing out the nation's nuclear plants. Most public opinion about nuclear power is negative and neither political party has supported reactor life extension until now, according to the blog.

Spain's power grid is almost completely isolated from the rest of Europe which makes energy security a leading factor in the government's decision to keep the reactors running past the artificial 40 year deadline. Blogger Dan Yurman said the financial collapse of its solar power subsidy programme may also have played a role in the change of heart.