Franco era nuclear power station finally closes

2nd May 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 May 2006, ALMONACID DE ZORITA — Spain's oldest nuclear power plant has been closed after 38 years in operation after a long campaign by environmentalists.

2 May 2006

ALMONACID DE ZORITA — Spain's oldest nuclear power plant has been closed after 38 years in operation after a long campaign by environmentalists.

But the move also prompted economic concerns among residents in the central province of Guadalajara.

The Jose Cabrera plant in Almonacid de Zorita was inaugurated in 1968 by the dictator Francisco Franco.

Nearly four decades later, it became the first nuclear plant to undergo a scheduled permanent shutdown.

While authorities cited technical reasons in ordering Cabrera closed two years short of its planned 40-year useful life, the plant's owner, Union Fenosa, said the installation could have functioned safely until 2008.

The plant has been forced to temporarily suspend work a number of times in recent years, notably in 1994, when power generation halted for more than 12 months due to the discovery of 170 cracks in the cover of the reactor vessel.

That incident brought intensified pressure to close the facility, from environmentalists, the regional government of Castile-La Mancha and from the Socialists and the United Left parties.

In 2002, Greenpeace activists managed to climb to the top of the reactor building, which raised questions about security at Cabrera and prompted Spain's Nuclear Safety Council to open a file on Union Fenosa.

The government is implementing an alternative development plan to lessen the impact of the plant's closure on Almonacid and the surrounding area, whose economy has grown dependent on the nuclear facility.

Though some locals are happy to see Cabrera shut down, others oppose the decision, claiming no one in the town has suffered any ill effects from the plant's operation.

Nuclear power generates nearly 23 percent of the electricity used in Spain.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news
 

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