Spain’s decision to prolong life of ‘obsolete’ nuclear plant close to Portugal ‘a heightened risk’

Spain’s decision to prolong the life of an ‘obsolete nuclear plant’ at on the river Tejo at Almaraz, just 100 kms from the Portuguese border, represents a heightened risk for local populations, say eco-groups in both countries criticising Portugal’s perceived ‘lack of engagement’ on the matter.

Concerns about Almaraz have been ongoing since 2015 when five independent experts warned the plant’s cooling system was not reliable (click here).

At the time, El Pais said the country’s nuclear supervisory body had refuted the failings, saying everything was under control.

But further ‘accidents’ have been logged (click here).

A senior army source has also revealed that a simulation of an accident at the plant has shown that up to 800,000 Portuguese would be ‘irradiated’ if the plant suffered a serious accident (click here).

Bearing in mind it was due to be mothballed this year – and is already 44 years old – eco groups consider an extension to 2027 and 2028 (the station has two reactors) is asking too much.

Francisco Ferreira of ZERO told Público, the plant was only ever envisaged to have a 30-year lifespan. It will end up running effectively 50% longer than this, he explains, creating a situation of ‘significant risk’.

Ferreira adds that safety regulations at more modern plants are “totally incompatible with the generation of stations like Almaraz”.

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