Fault at Spanish nuclear plant stokes concerns over infrastructure

15th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

Fourth technical fault experienced by Cofrentes nuclear power station in two weeks adds on to heightened concerns over Spain’s nuclear infrastructure.

15 July 2008

VALENCIA - The Cofrentes nuclear power station in Valencia suffered its fourth technical fault in two weeks at the weekend, adding to already heightened concerns about Spain's aging nuclear infrastructure.

Operators at the Cofrentes plant reduced output by around 30 percent in the early hours of Sunday morning in order to repair a faulty pressure gauge in an incident that power station officials said did not pose a safety risk.

The plant began operating at full capacity again within 24 hours of the repairs being carried out.

However, the incident is the latest in a string of component failures at Cofrentes, which last week prompted an inspection from the Nuclear Security Council (CSN), Spain's atomic energy watchdog.

The most serious fault occurred last Thursday when a short-circuit destroyed a valve, forcing the plant to issue a pre-emergency warning.

Iberdrola, which operates Cofrentes, and nuclear industry lobbyists have sought to downplay the severity of the recent incidents.

María Teresa Domínguez, the head of the Spanish Nuclear Forum, Spain's nuclear lobby, denied Monday that any of the recent incidents had posed a "risk" to people living near the plant. She said they were merely "operational occurrences" and no reason for alarm.

[El Pais / Expatica]

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