June 24, 2021

Enresa plans to have a temporary nuclear warehouse operational in 2028 and a final silo in 2073



The National Waste Company (Enresa) wants to have in 2028 a centralized temporary warehouse (ATC) for highly active nuclear waste and spent fuel from the Spanish nuclear power plants, which will definitely stop between 2027 and 2035, according to the draft Plan VII General of Radioactive Waste, which puts on the horizon of 2073 the date on which the deep geological warehouse could be ready, where all this waste would be definitively confined.

This is stated in the draft of the plan that Enresa has sent to the Ministry for Ecological Transition, which in addition to a single location for the ATC does not rule out the construction of several decentralized temporary storages as an alternative.

Enresa and the ministry have announced the publication of the draft on Monday, after the state of alarm for the coronavirus health emergency came into effect, and a few weeks after the public company announced that it has renounced the tenders it had pending awarding. to install the Villar Cañas (Cuenca) ATC, whose processing was suspended by the Government in 2018.

Now, during the processing of the plan, the Ministry must define whether to maintain the strategy of a single centralized installation, in accordance with the VI General Radioactive Waste Plan, or to opt for various locations.

Geological storage

But beyond the next few years, as the plan contemplates the strategy for the period 2021-2027, Enresa proposes that the definitive management strategy for spent fuel from Spanish plants and highly active waste in Spain is the establishment of a storage facility. deep geological (AGP). “It is considered the most sustainable and safe alternative. The forecast is that it could be operational in 2073,” the plan says.

The Seventh General Plan for Radioactive Waste, the tool that in Spain sets the strategy for the management of radioactive waste and which comes to replace the current one, which has expired since 2010, also includes a roadmap to undertake the dismantling of the plants when their operation ends within the framework of the draft of the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) 2021-2030.

This document sets a timetable for the orderly closure of the nuclear power plants that Enresa and the owners of the nuclear power plants already signed in March 2019 to definitively stop the seven nuclear reactors that are still active in Spain between 2027 and 2035.

Given the characteristics and size of the nuclear park, the draft maintains the so-called “open cycle” as a spent fuel management strategy, that is, it does not contemplate reprocessing but rather the storage of waste generated by plants.

For the first time, Enresa has a calendar that allows it to make a forecast of immediate total dismantling of all the plants, after it ceases operation, and consequently an accurate estimate of the total volume of nuclear waste to be managed.

In accordance with the plan, work to prepare for the decommissioning of each plant will begin at least three years before the date of cessation and decommissioning is expected to begin three years after that date.

During those six years the spent fuel pools will be emptied and the preparatory tasks for dismantling and obtaining the dismantling authorization will be carried out. Subsequently, a term of ten years is estimated for the material execution of the dismantling.

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