Activists demand nuclear plant closed

Feature story - 20 November, 2008
Sixty activists are at the Garoña nuclear power plant in Spain to demand that the Spanish government makes good on its commitment to start phasing out nuclear power plants, starting now with the immediate closure of the Garoña power plant.

Activists demand that the Spanish government meet its commitment to phase out nuclear power plants and to immediately close Garoña.

Activists worked quickly to set up camp inside a shipping container at the main entrance of the plant. Meanwhile, another group of activists chained themselves to the nuclear plant's main gate with banners reading: Garoña, cierre ya (Garoña, immediately closing). 

Nuclear? No thanks! 

Earlier this year, the PSOE (Spanish socialist party) committed to the "gradual replacement of the nuclear energy in Spain for secure, clean and less expensive energies, closing nuclear power plants (…) promoting energy saving, energy efficiency and renewable energies, as well as distributed generation and local transport and distribution frameworks." We are calling on the Spanish government to fulfill its promise to the people of Spain and start phasing out nuclear power immediately.

1001 cracks

Opened in 1971, Garoña is an obsolete plant with serious safety problems. Its licence is due to end in July 2009. However, in its zeal to obtain more benefits, the owner company, Nuclenor (50 percent Endesa-50 percent Iberdrola), has asked for a 10 year extension. That's ten more years of unsafe nuclear power, even after the people have called for a closing of the plant.

Garoña's contribution to the Spanish electric system in 2007 was only 3.478 Gwh, which is only 1.28 percent of the entire electricity generation of that year in Spain. Renewable energy's contribution in the same year was 62.081 Gwh, 9.61 percent more than 2006. This increase in renewable energy between 2006 and 2007 is close to double the annual contribution of the Garoña nuclear power plant, making the plant obsolete.

Garoña, known as the "1001 cracks plant", is "out of the legal requirements" regarding security because of its multiple cracks and corrosion around different parts of the reactor's jar (the heart of a nuclear power plant, where the uranium is sheltered.) This problem affects 70 percent of the pipes that cross the reactor's jar and which drive the control bars inside of it, allowing them to work as the stopping system of the nuclear reaction. This is clear evidence of the depletion of Garoña's safe and useful life. Even more worrying, as the Nuclear Safety Council recognised to the Parliament, is that the cracking process is continually deteriorating with time.

Nuclear free Spain

There is no economic, energy, environmental or social warrant for the Spanish government to break its commitment to close Garoña and phase out nuclear energy in Spain completely. Garoña's small contribution to energy production is more than compensated by the annual increase of renewable electricity in Spain. The plant has serious and dangerous cracks and corrosion problems and the government has already agreed to an end to this dangerous and insufficient form of energy.

Watch the start of the action(Spanish)

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