Uranium continues to turn on its light

Uranium continues to turn on its light


In 2018, nuclear energy maintained its traditional leadership as the leading generation technology in the Spanish electricity system. It is not a novelty, but it is paradoxical that the power stations that put more energy into the network every year, which also act as a wild card when the wind mills do not rotate due to lack of wind or drought is drunk hydroelectric production, which are next to the coal in the target of the Government of Pedro Sánchez.

The transition to a Spain without nuclear (and without coal, another backup technology) not only seems complex but very expensive. Even more so if it is intended to trigger the demand with the electrification of cars. This is shown by the provisional data provided by the end of the year by Red Eléctrica Española (REE). Nuclear power was responsible for 21.4% of electricity generation in 2018, a similar percentage to the previous year. To go back only to the last exercises: in 2015, nuclear contributed 21.8% of production; 22.6% in 2016, and 22.4% in 2017. Of course it was the leading technology. In contrast, wind production reached the second position in the energy mix, with 19.8% of the total generation in 2018. In 2015, it was the third largest contributor (19%) after nuclear and coal ; in 2016 and 2017 it was the second of the podium, with 19% and 19.1%, respectively. It is true that, thanks to the good year in terms of wind and rain, renewable production has increased 6.3 points compared to 2017, when it remained at a poor 33.7% precisely because of the lack of rain, but remains stable in 40%, as in 2016. And when the wind falls or the clouds do not leave a drop, it drops precipitously below that margin, as in 2015 (36.9%).

Despite the rhetoric of the Executive, the truth is that stoppages at nuclear power plants are scarce and their production is strategically located at the crossroads of electrical system cables, which allows better control of tensions, according to the experts. In addition, its source of energy, enriched uranium, leaves politically stable countries, which limits the oscillations in the prices of this fuel and its generation cost is not conditioned by CO2 emission rights.

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