Greenpeace celebrates victory as Spain’ s oldest nuclear power plant is shut down

Environmental groups called on Spanish government to phase out nuclear power

Press release - 1 May, 2006

Madrid, 1st May2006 -Greenpeace is celebrating the permanent shutdown of Spain’soldest nuclearpower station, which was finally closed yesterday following years ofintensecampaigning by environmental and social groups highlighting serioussafetyconcerns at the plant.

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Campaignerscelebrated thefinal closure of the Cabrera Nuclear Power station at Zorita after 38years ofcontroversial operation. Greenpeace and social groups have long claimedthatthe plant was extremely dangerous and had been campaigning hard for itsclosure, including a high profile occupation of the reactor’s dome byactivistsin April 2002.

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“It is a greatvictory forpublic health and the environment,” said Juan López de Uralde,ExecutiveDirector of Greenpeace Spain.  TheCabrera plant should have been closed many years ago. The closing ofthe plantcategorically demonstrates that Zorita’s operation was very dangerousbecauseof numerous technical problems and the absence of a security culture.”

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Since 1981security anddesign weaknesses of the plant have led to successful attempts atimprovements.However the accumulation of security problems have made it evident thatstrictconditions for total security guarantees—under which it was required tooperate—were impossible.

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Today Greenpeacedemandedthat the government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero fulfil its promiseto phaseout nuclear energy in Spain, beginning with Santa Maria de Garoña in Burgos, one of Spain’s first generationplants.This power station also has serious problems of cracking caused bycorrosion ofthe reactor vessel.

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The Jose Cabreraplant isnot the first power station to be shut down in Spain and raisessecurity andsafety concerns for all other nuclear facilities. The Vandellos plant was also closed because of securityproblems in1990 following a fire at the plant in 1989.

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 “Spain hasthe potential to generate all of its current electricity demandfifty-six timesover using renewable energy. It is incredible that the Government isstillconsidering including nuclear in our power future,” said Carlos Bravo,NuclearEnergy campaigner for Greenpeace. “Nuclear energy is not the solutionto eitherclimate change, increasing energy demand or energy security. It createsseriousenvironmental, health and security problems. What’s more, management ofradioactive waste is an environmental and social time bomb, a globalproblemwhich to this day still has no solution,” concluded Bravo.

VVPR info: Carlos Bravo, Greenpeace Spain Nuclear Energy campaigner + 34 66998241Sara Vizzinato, Greenpeace Spain Press Officer + 34 679615375Jan van de Putte, Greenpeace International: +32 496161584