(Updated 2013)


1.1. Country overview

Note: The content of this section, including Tables 1 and 2, has been removed by the IAEA to better focus the report on nuclear power.

1.2. Energy Information

1.2.1. Estimated available energy

The main indigenous energy sources in Spain are coal and hydro (Table 3).


Estimated available energy sources
Fossil Fuels Nuclear Renewables
Solid Liquid ** Gas Uranium *** Hydro **** Other
Total amount in specific units* 530 20 3 14 162 n.d.

* Solid, Liquid: Million tons; Gas: Billion m3; Uranium: Thousand metric tons; Hydro: TWh /year

** Shale oil not included

***Reasonable Assured Resources < US$260/kgU

**** Gross theoretical capability

Source: 2010 Survey of Energy Resources (World Energy Council) and Uranium 2011: Resources, Production and Demand (IAEA-NEA).

1.2.2. Energy Statistics

In 2011, the primary energy consumption in Spain reached 129.9 Mtoe, which represented a decrease of 0.7% in relation to the preceding year, in line with the international crisis context.

The final energy consumption decreased about 4.4% in the same year, reaching 93.2 Mtoe, due to the decrease in the economical activity of all sectors.

The national energy production in the same year was about 30.9 Mtoe, which represented a decrease of 9.9% in relation to 2010, due to the decrease in all energy sources, except for some renewables.

Table 4 shows the historical energy statistics.


Average annual growth rate (%)
  1970 1980 1990 2000 2009 2010 2011 2000 to 2011
Energy consumption (EJ)
- Total 1.73 3.03 3.71 5.41 5.51 5.5 5.45 0.07
- Solids*** 0.47 0.56 0.85 1.2 0.43 0.30 0.52 -7.27
- Liquids 1.00 2.07 1.88 2.57 2.67 2.56 2.45 -0.44
- Gases 0.08 0.23 0.72 1.31 1.31 1.22 4.87
- Nuclear 0.58 0.68 0.63
- Hydro 0.09 0.15 0.11
- Other Renewables 0.42 0.49 0.53
- Primary electricity **** 0.26 0.32 0.75 0.92 1.09 1.32 1.27 2.95
Energy production (EJ)
- Total 0.66 0.85 1.40 1.53 1.26 1.44 1.30 -1.47
- Solids*** 0.37 0.45 0.54 0.57 0.16 0.13 0.10 -14.95
- Liquids 0.01 0.07 0.05 0.02 0.004 0.005 0.004 -13.15
- Gases 0.06 0.02 0.001 0.002 0.002 -19.30
- Nuclear 0.58 0.68 0.63
- Hydro 0.09 0.15 0.11
- Other Renewables 0.42 0.48 0.46
- Primary electricity **** 0.28 0.33 0.75 0.92 1.09 1.31 1.20 2.42
Net import (Import - Export) (EJ)
- Total 1.22 2.34 2.54 4.29 4.70 4.55 4.48 0.39
- Solids*** 0.08 0.17 0.29 0.62 0.38 0.33 0.44 -3.07
- Liquids 1.14 2.09 2.08 2.95 2.83 2.73 2.6 -1.14
- Gases 0.08 0.17 0.72 1.49 1.49 1.44 6.50
- Nuclear
- Hydro
- Other Renewables

* Latest available data

** Energy consumption = Primary energy consumption + Net import (Import - Export) of secondary energy.

*** Solid fuels include coal, lignite and commercial wood

**** Primary electricity = Nuclear + Hydro + Other Renewables (for old data)

Source: Libro de la Energía 2011, Libros de la Energía and Boletín Estadístico de Hidrocarburos (various years).

1.2.3. Energy policy

The main goals of the Spanish energy policy are to guarantee supply and ensure a larger contribution of energy in increasing the competitiveness of the Spanish economy, the reduction of energy consumption and the compliance with the environmental objectives. Taking the above into account, the key priority for all actors is obtaining a sustainable energy system for the future. Different regulatory measures have been taken to achieve this target.

Since 2012, the Spanish government is engaged in a deep reform of the electricity system. The objective is to eliminate the tariff deficit and to set up the basis of a real sustainable system for the future. Royal Decree-Law 13/2012, of March 30th, has already established the first measures aiming to adjust costs and incomes of the electricity system. New legislation will follow in 2013 until completing the reform of the whole electricity sector.

The electricity and gas sectors are regulated by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism (MINETUR) and the National Energy Commission (CNE). The Ministry holds regulatory powers, CNE holds mainly information-gathering powers and other matters with relation to these activities.

The legal framework is based on Law 54/1997, of November 27th, on Electric Sector, and Law 34/1998, of October 7th, on Hydrocarbon Sector, and the rules in relation with them.

The path of power sector liberalization process began in 1998 with the EU market Directive of 1996. Therefore, Law 54/1997 established a division between regulated activities (transport and distribution) and non-regulated activities (generation and retailing), and imposed electricity companies to separate these activities both accountingly and legally.

Law 54/1997 was modified by Law 17/2007, of July 4th, to adapt the Spanish electric sector to Directive 2003/54/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity. The target of this Directive was to create conditions more conducive to genuine, fair competition putting in place a true single market. It placed an obligation on Member States to take the measures necessary to attain clearly defined objectives, such as to protect vulnerable customers, to protect consumers' fundamental rights and to promote economic and social cohesion.

One of the main changes introduced in the electric Sector by Law 17/2007 was the elimination, as from July 1st 2009, of the tariff supply. From that date on, the electricity supply is carried out by traders on a free market basis. The tariff supply has been substituted by “the last resort supply”, and the Administration establishes maximum prices called “last resort tariffs” to guarantee the universal service, addressed to final consumers with electric power equal or below 10 kW. Royal Decree 485/2009, of April 3rd, regulates the start-up of the mentioned last resort supply. Law 17/2007 also established different dates to reduce the last resort suppliers.

The Spanish gas market is a highly transparent system that complies with the EU legislation. Law 34/1998 was also modified (by Law 12/2007, of July 2nd) to adapt the sector to Directive 2003/55/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas. This Directive established common rules on the storage, transmission, supply and distribution of natural gas, and laid down detailed rules on the organization and functioning of the natural gas sector, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), biogas and gas from biomass and other types of gas. Law 12/2007 substituted the integral tariff supply by the last resort supply for the gas market as well.

Other important issues concerning current energy policy in Spain are:

  • The Action Plan and Efficiency Savings 2011-2020, approved by the Council of Ministers Agreement of July 29th 2011, is the second National Action Plan for Energy Saving and Efficiency (NEEAP), consistent with the provisions of the Article 14 of Directive 2006/32/EC, of 5 April 2006, on energy end-use efficiency and energy services. This plan is a continuation of previously approved plans under the Strategy and Efficiency Savings 2004-2012 (known as E4).

    Energy savings proposed by the Plan are consistent with scenarios of final and primary energy consumption incorporated in planning for renewable energy (in accordance with the obligations under Directive 2009/28/EC, of 23 April 2009, on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources). Thus, the energy planning is coherent with the objective of improving the final intensity of 2% in the period 2010-2020.

    The Plan presents a set of measures and actions that will save 17,842 ktoe of end energy in 2020 of and 35,585 ktoe of primary energy, calculated with reference to the year 2007 and according to the methodology proposed by the European Commission.

  • The Renewable Energy Plan (PER) 2011-2020, approved by the Council of Ministers Agreement of November 11th 2011, sets out the objectives in line with Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, in response to the mandates of the Royal Decree 661/2007, which regulates the activity of electricity production in the special regime and the Law 2/2011, of March 4th, of Sustainable Economy.

    This Plan includes more than 80 measures, of which nearly half are horizontal measures and other sectorial, consistent with European requirements, and achieving national goals set for 2020 and that will represent, according to the methodology of that Directive, a renewable energy consumption of 20.8% of gross final energy consumption, as well as their final consumption of 11.3% on the consumption of energy in transport. The renewable energy sources referred to this Plan are: biofuels and bioliquids. At the end of 2012, the Ministry launched the process to design a new planning to electric transport grid for 2014-2020 to adapt the system to the current demand level.

1.3. The electricity system

1.3.1. Electricity policy and decision making process

As indicated in other sections, the energy policy in Spain has tended to progressively liberalize the markets with the main target of decreasing the energy prices, ensuring the energy supply and quality, improving the energy efficiency, reducing the consumption and protecting the environment. This position is expressed by Law 54/1997, its amendment and the regulation in relation with it. This Law establishes regulations to guarantee the electric supply, its quality and try to get the lowest cost. It creates a liberalized wholesale market (see section 1.2.3) where the government is responsible for approving the specific regulations and the prices are established by the economic agents.

The electricity system planning is thus indicative, as established in Law 54/1997, and not binding, except for transport installations, which are subject to a central binding planning. In the same way as for the electricity system, Law 34/1998 establishes indicative planning for the gas system, except for the gas pipelines belonging to the basic grid, regasification capacity and installations for the storage of hydrocarbon strategic reserves, which are binding in order to ensure the supply. On May 30th 2008, the Council of Ministers approved the current electricity and gas sectors’ planning for the period 2008-2016. At the end of 2012, the MINETUR launched the process to design a new planning to the electric transport grid for 2014-2020 to adapt the system to the current demand level.

The current policy of the Government as regards nuclear energy considers that Spain requires a balanced electricity mix that takes into account all energy sources and available capacities. Having in mind that nuclear energy contributes both to the diversification of the energy supply sources and to the reduction of greenhouse emissions, nuclear power plants (NPP), which nowadays supply a significant generation capacity for the country, could not be disregarded whenever they comply with the conditions on nuclear safety and radiological protection imposed by the Nuclear Safety Council.

1.3.2. Structure of electric power sector

In Spain, there are five large electricity producers: Endesa, S.A., Iberdrola, S.A., Gas Natural SDG, S.A., Hidroeléctrica del Cantábrico, S.A. and E.On España, S.L.

There are also “special producers”, which, with the targets of energy saving and efficiency, produce electric energy using renewable sources: cogeneration (production of heat and electricity) or wind, biomass and waste energy. In 2012, they produced about 32% of the national electric generation (in particular wind energy).

Another important company in the Spanish electrical sector is Red Eléctrica de España, S.A. (REE), which is the Spanish TSO (Transmission and System Operator), responsible for the technical management of the Spanish electricity system. REE, as the system operator, guarantees the continuity and security of power supply and proper coordination of the production and transmission system, performing its functions in coordination with the operators and clients of the Iberian power market. As the manager of the transmission grid, REE acts as the sole transmitter and, as such, must guarantee that facilities are adequately developed and upgraded as needed, that they are maintained and enhanced on the basis of uniform and consistent criteria, that the transmission of power between external systems using the Spanish power system is properly managed, that the managers of other interconnected grids receive the information they need to guarantee safe operations, and that third party access to the grid is guaranteed under equal conditions.

The “Operador del Mercado Ibérico – Polo Español, S.A.”, (OMIE, S.A.) (Market Operator), created by Law 54/1997, is in charge of the necessary functions for the financial management of the system for the efficient development of the electricity market. Specifically, it is in charge of the management of the system for buying and selling of electrical energy with the functions outlined in the said Law, and the making of the corresponding settlements and payments and collections and, consequently, including the results of the daily and intraday electricity markets. In parallel to the Market Operator, the same Law on the Electric Sector set up the already mentioned System Operator (which is REE, S.A.), to take charge of the technical management. Together with Portugal, Spain has set up the common Iberian electricity market (MIBEL), a governmental initiative whose integration started in 2008, and which is still being developed.

The National Energy Commission (CNE, Comisión Nacional de Energía), created by Law 34/1998, is the regulatory body of energy systems. Its aim is to regulate the energy systems, to maintain free competition and transparency of the performance, to benefit all the organizations working in the system and the consumers. The Commission is a public authority with independent legal identity, its own assets and full operational capacity. It is assigned to the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, which controls the effectiveness of its activity. The Commission is governed by a Board of Directors, made up of a Chairperson, a deputy Chairperson, a Secretary and seven members. All of them stay in the Commission for a six-year period and can be renamed for the same period. The Commission has advising organizations.

1.3.3. Main indicators


Average annual growth rate (%)
  1970 1980 1990 2000 2009 2010 2011 2000 to 2011
Capacity of electrical plants (GWe)
- Thermal 6.88 13.48 19.67 25.5 48.18 51.67 51.11 6.52
- Hydro 10.88 12.83 16.23 17.99 18.42 19.55 19.61 0.78
- Nuclear 0.15 1.09 7.51 7.57 7.72 7.78 7.78 0.25
- Wind 1.88 17.25 20.20 21.24 24.66
- Solar 3.34 4.33 5.30
- other renewable 0.02 0.75 1.17 0.86 40.75
- Total 17.91 27.40 43.41 52.96 95.66 104.69 105.89 6.50
Electricity production (TW.h)
- Thermal 27.61 74.49 73.68 125.98 167.79 139.50 144.43 1.25
- Hydro 27.78 29.53 26.18 31.81 29.08 45.49 32.91 0.31
- Nuclear 0.92 5.19 51.9 59.31 52.76 61.99 57.65 -0.26
- Wind 37.16 44.17 48.37
- Solar 6.17 7.10 9.12
- other renewable 3.88 4.84 5.57
- Total (1) 56.31 109.21 151.76 217.10 296.84 303.09 298.05 2.92
Total Electricity consumption (TW.h) 73.06 94.12 100.40 97.41 2.65

(1) Electricity transmission losses are not deducted

Source: : IAEA Energy and Economic Database, Libro de la Energía 2011, Libros de la Energía (various years), and El sistema eléctrico español 2011 y 2010 (REE).


2000 2005 2008 2009 2010 2011
Energy consumption per capita (GJ/capita) 92.7 103.2 95.8 87.6 86.6 83.4
Electricity consumption per capita (kW.h/capita) 4 647.9 5 590.6 5 605.9 5 225.6 5 521.8 5 400.9
Electricity production/Energy production (%) 60.7 82.1 88.7 85.2 75.9 81.2
Nuclear/Total electricity (%) 27.6 19.6 18.6 17.8 20.5 19.7
Ratio of self-sufficiency (%) 26.3 21.1 21.7 23.0 26.4 23.9

Source: Libro de la Energía 2011, Libros de la Energía (various years) and Statistical Yearbooks (several years). See web INE.


2.1. Historical development and current organizational structure

2.1.1. Overview

Nuclear Energy in Spain was developed in the early 50’s. At that time, the main organization responsible in this field was the Nuclear Energy Board (Junta de Energía Nuclear - JEN), a subordinate organization of the former Ministry of Industry and Energy, with full powers for nuclear matters (in charge of personnel training, raw materials procurement, basic scientific research and technology development, among others). In view of the growth of nuclear activities, and with it the multiplication of regulations in this area, the functions attributed to the JEN by the Spanish legislation, and especially the Nuclear Energy Act (Law 25/1964, of April 29th), were transferred to other organisations or entities that currently play an important role in this area, such as the Nuclear Safety Council (Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear - CSN), the Empresa Nacional de Uranio, S.A (currently, ENUSA Industrias Avanzadas, S.A.), or the Empresa Nacional de Residuos Radiactivos, S.A. (ENRESA), and the Board was finally replaced by the Centre for Energy-Related, Environmental and Technological Research (CIEMAT) by virtue of Law 13/1986, of April 14th, on the Promotion and General Coordination of Scientific and Technical Research.

In the late 60’s, the construction of the first generation NPPs (José Cabrera, Santa María de Garoña and Vandellós I) started. In the early 70’s the construction of the second generation NPPs (Almaraz I and II, Lemóniz I and II, Ascó I and II and Cofrentes) started.

In 1972, ENUSA, a state owned company, was established, taking charge of all the nuclear fuel cycle front-end activities. Its shareholders are the SEPI (Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales) holding 60% of the capital, and the CIEMAT, holding the remaining 40%. Law 15/1980, of April 22nd, created the Nuclear Safety Council, the only organization competent in nuclear safety and radiological protection matters in Spain.

In the early 80’s, the construction of the NPPs Valdecaballeros I and II, Vandellós II and Trillo I, NPPs started, and preparatory studies for Trillo II were initiated.

In 1983, a moratorium was established (construction pause) for Lemóniz I and II Valdecaballeros I and II, and Trillo II. In 1994, the definitive cessation of the NPPs under the moratorium was decided.

In 1984, ENRESA was established. The State owned company is responsible for the radioactive waste management and the dismantling of nuclear installations in Spain.

2.1.2. Current organizational chart

Figure 1 shows the current institutional framework of nuclear energy in Spain:

FIG. 1. Institutional Framework

For information about licensing authorization, see section 3.1.2 of this document.

2.2. Nuclear power plants: Overview

2.2.1. Status and performance of nuclear power plants

Nuclear net generation amounted to 61,360 GWh in 2012, a 6.4% increase with regard to the previous year. Load and Time Availability Factors were 88.82% and 90.60% respectively.

In 2012, there were 8 unplanned shutdowns in Spanish NPPs as a whole, compared to the 7 of 2011.


Reactor Unit Type Net
Status Operator Reactor
First Grid
ALMARAZ-1 PWR 1011 Operational CNAT WH 1973-07-03 1981-04-05 1981-05-01 1983-09-01 96.6
ALMARAZ-2 PWR 1006 Operational CNAT WH 1973-07-03 1983-09-19 1983-10-08 1984-07-01 87.1
ASCO-1 PWR 995 Operational ANAV WH 1974-05-16 1983-06-16 1983-08-13 1984-12-10 84.8
ASCO-2 PWR 997 Operational ANAV WH 1975-03-07 1985-09-11 1985-10-23 1986-03-31 96.5
COFRENTES BWR 1064 Operational ID GE 1975-09-09 1984-08-23 1984-10-14 1985-03-11 81.5
TRILLO-1 PWR 1003 Operational CNAT KWU 1979-08-17 1988-05-14 1988-05-23 1988-08-06 91.2
VANDELLOS-2 PWR 1045 Operational ANAV WH 1980-12-29 1987-11-14 1987-12-12 1988-03-08 83.1
SANTA MARIA DE GARONA BWR 446 Long-term Shutdown NUCLENOR GE 1966-09-01 1970-11-05 1971-03-02 1971-05-11 0.0
JOSE CABRERA-1 PWR 141 Permanent Shutdown UFG WH 1964-06-24 1968-06-30 1968-07-14 1969-08-13 2006-04-30
VANDELLOS-1 GCR 480 Permanent Shutdown HIFRENSA CEA 1968-06-21 1972-02-11 1972-05-06 1972-08-02 1990-07-31
LEMONIZ-1 PWR 883 Cancelled Constr. ID WH 1974-03-14 1984-04-01
LEMONIZ-2 PWR 883 Cancelled Constr. ID WH 1974-03-14 1984-04-01
VALDECABALLEROS-1 BWR 939 Cancelled Constr. ID/CSE GE 1979-08-17 1984-04-01
VALDECABALLEROS-2 BWR 939 Cancelled Constr. ID/CSE GE 1979-08-17 1984-04-01
Data source: IAEA - Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).
Note: Table 7 is completely generated from PRIS data to reflect the latest available information and may be more up to date than the text of the report.

FIG.2. Location of Spanish NPPs

2.2.2. Plant upgrading, plant life management and license renewals

The nuclear units in operation are 24 to 41 years old. Licenses are renewed every 10 years, subject to periodical safety revisions by the regulatory authority. Since the beginning of nuclear power operation, the plants’ power levels have been continuously upgraded, currently the total net increase equals one medium size new plant. Ascó I and II, Almaraz I and II, Cofrentes and Vandellós II were refurbished and up-rated in the last decade.

On July 4th 2006, Nuclenor submitted the application for the 10-year renewal of the Santa María de Garoña NPP operation license to the former Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade (MITYC). The MITYC awarded the renewal of the operation license until July 6th 2013 (a four-year license), establishing this date as the one of definitive shutdown of the plant. After the Spanish general elections of November 2011, the MINETUR considered the possibility of an extension of the lifetime of this plant.

To this end, the Ministerial Order of 2009, which established 2013 as the end of Garoña’s lifecycle, was partially revoked by the one of June, 29th 2012; allowing to request, before September the 6th 2012, the renewal of its current license for a period no longer than six years. Nuclenor didn’t present the formal request mentioned alleging uncertainty related to the investments that it would have to make in case of continuing its activity, which may not lead to profitable results in the future. In addition, on occasion of the Parliamentary processing of the Law 15/2012, on fiscal measures for energy sustainability, which introduced new taxes applicable to nuclear installations, and taking into consideration the economic consequences of the entering into force of the referred law, Nuclenor disconnected the reactor from the grid the 16 December 2012, and moved all the spent fuel to the spent fuel pool.

As for other NPPs, license renewals for Almaraz I and II and Vandellós II were granted in 2010 and those of Ascó I and II and Cofrentes in 2011. License renewal for Trillo will be revised in 2014.

2.3. Future development of Nuclear Power

2.3.1. Nuclear power development strategy

Not applicable.

2.3.2. Project management

Not applicable.

2.3.3. Project funding

Not applicable.

2.3.4. Electric grid development

Not applicable.

2.3.5. Site Selection

Not applicable.

2.4. Organizations involved in construction of NPPs

Architect Engineers

The Spanish Engineering Companies which have played an important role in the National Nuclear Sector are Empresarios Agrupados, Initec, Inypsa and Sener. These companies have collaborated solely or in consortium with others in launching the first generation NPPs and in successive projects, increasing progressively the nuclear installed capacity. The first NPPs were carried out as turn-key projects and only in the following projects were local engineering companies involved. The scope of each project has been different, having the engineering companies focused on different activities such as design, licensing, procurement operations and collaboration in start-up and in tests. At this moment, as there are no NPPs under construction, these Architect Engineers companies have concentrated on operational support, shutdown and decommissioning of NPPs, research and development and radioactive waste engineering activities.

Other companies to include in this category are Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción, S.A.U or Técnicas Reunidas, S.A among others. Their increasing international presence has become one of their main traits.

NSSS Manufacturers and Component Suppliers

The main Spanish NSSS manufacturer is Equipos Nucleares, S.A. (ENSA), which designs, produces and inspects NPPs primary circuit equipment and components. Its manufacturing plant is located in Maliaño (Cantabria). This company is State owned through the SEPI, which controls 100% of its shares. ENSA is also constructing double purpose casks, called ENSA-DPT, to store and/or transport spent fuel assemblies.

ENSA has provided primary circuit equipment (steam generators, reactor vessels, etc.) and components to the second and third generation Spanish NPPs and has exported to several countries as Germany, Argentina, United Kingdom, India, United States of America, Belgium and others.

In 2007, ENSA formed, along with ENUSA, Tecnatom and Ringo Válvulas, the Spanish Nuclear Group for China (SNGC), whose aims is the marketing and supply of nuclear products and services abroad, particularly in China.

Other Component Suppliers

The last NPPs built in Spain contained a large range of domestically made equipment and components. The following list of national manufacturers aims to be useful and includes some of the main companies:

Turbines: Eumynsa.

Pumps: Chepro, Amara (100% Iberdrola), Vorkauf.

Air compressor: Abrasivos y Maquinaria.

Valves: Masoneilan, Ringo Válvulas.

Electric equipments: Cantarey Reinosa, Gamesa.

Instrumentation & Control: Indra Sistemas, TSI.

2.5. Organizations involved in operation of NPPs


The majority of the Spanish NPPs are under co-ownership, and managed by Economic Interest Groupings (Agrupaciones de Interés Económico, AIEs). Table 8 shows the different owners and operators of Spanish NPPs:


NPPLicense OwnerOperator
CofrentesIberdrola Generación, S.A.Iberdrola Generación, S.A.
Sta. Mª de GaroñaNuclenor, S.A. (Iberdrola Generación, S.A. 50%; ENDESA Generación, S.A. 50%)Nuclenor, S.A.
Almaraz I
Almaraz II
Iberdrola Generación, S.A. (52.7%); ENDESA Generación, S.A. (36%); Gas Natural SDG, S.A.(1) (11.3%)Centrales Nucleares Almaraz-Trillo, A.I.E.
TrilloIberdrola Generación, S.A. (48%); Gas Natural SDG, S.A (34.5%); Hidrocantábrico energía, S.A. (15.5%); Nuclenor, S.A. (2%)
Ascó IENDESA Generación, S.A.Asociación Nuclear Ascó-Vandellós, A.I.E.
Ascó IIENDESA Generación, S.A. (85%); Iberdrola Generación, S.A. (15%)
Vandellós IIENDESA Generación, S.A. (72%); Iberdrola Generación, S.A. (28%)

Operation Service Suppliers

There are several companies who offer operational services in the nuclear sector, such as TECNATOM (compromised by the principal electricity companies), Idom, LAINSA, ENWESA (compromised by ENSA (75%) and Westinghouse Technology Services (25%)) and NUSIM.

TECNATOM provides training services to NPP operating personnel. It has PWR and BWR simulators. TECNATOM has also carried out several in-service inspection and maintenance activities giving support to the Spanish NPPs, and it is expanding its international presence to East Europe, Russian Federation and Ukraine. LAINSA, ENWESA and NUSIM are focusing on maintenance and operational support to NPPs, quality assurance, radiological protection and various activities.

2.6. Organizations involved in decommissioning of NPPs

According to article 38 bis of the Nuclear Energy Act, in the wording done by Law 11/2009, of October 26th, management of radioactive wastes, including spent fuel, and the dismantling and decommissioning of nuclear installations (NPPs included) is an essential public service corresponding exclusively to the State, and commissioned to the company ENRESA. In this respect, ENRESA is constituted as a vehicle and technical service of the Administration, responsible for carrying out whatever functions might be assigned to it by the Government.

Royal Decree 1349/2003, of October 31st, also establishes that the responsibility for the management of operations deriving from the decommissioning of NPPs corresponds to ENRESA. For its part, the Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities Regulation (Royal Decree 1836/1999, of December 3rd, as amended) indicates that on expiry of the operation permit of a nuclear facility, the responsibility for its decommissioning is initially to the licensee of the installation who, prior to the granting of the decommissioning authorisation, undertakes the pre-dismantling activities. In order for this authorisation to be granted, the licensee of the operation license must previously have conditioned the radioactive waste generated during its operation, and unloaded the fuel from the reactor and from the pools. Once the ownership is transferred to ENRESA, it is responsible for the performance of the dismantling and decommissioning activities.

To date, two nuclear units have been shut down: Vandellós I (in 1990) and José Cabrera (in 2006).

  • The Vandellós I NPP, a 480 MWe gas graphite reactor commissioned in 1972, ceased its operation in 1990. In January 1998 the former Ministry of Industry and Energy authorized activities of plant dismantling. From 2003, the plant is in latency period, after having reached level 2 of dismantling: the non-released parts of the site will remain under the responsibility and surveillance of ENRESA. This situation will be maintained for 25 years, a period during which the radiological activity of the internal structures of the reactor box will decay to approximately 5% of the initial value.

    On completion of the latency period, around 2028, the last level dismantling will begin, including removal of the reactor box and its internals and the complete release of the site

  • Since the beginning of May 2006, José Cabrera NPP remains shutdown in compliance with Order ITC/1652/2006, of April 20th, of the former MITYC, which declared the definitive shutdown of the plant. The authorisation for dismantling and the transfer of license ownership to ENRESA was granted by means of Order ITC/204/2010, of February 1st, of the MITYC. The dismantling is expected to be finished in 2016.

An Individual Temporary Storage Facility (ITSF) is in operation since 2008. In 2009, the spent fuel housed in the NPP pool (377 fuel assemblies) was loaded into 12 dry storage casks that were taken to its ITSF.

2.7. Fuel cycle including waste management

Activities related to fuel cycle can be classified into front-end and back-end activities:

Front End Activities:

The front end of the nuclear fuel cycle is understood to include the processes relating to the production of nuclear energy, among them the acquisition and application of the nuclear materials used in operating nuclear reactors. The front-end activities are mining and milling, uranium conversion, uranium enrichment and the manufacturing of fuel assemblies:

  • Mining and milling: There are no mining installations in operation in Spain. Due to the lower uranium market price, ENUSA’s mining activities in Saelices el Chico (Salamanca) were stopped at the end of 2000. The former uranium mining and milling facilities are at different stages of decommissioning and environmental restoration of the sites is ongoing. The decommissioning of the Quercus uranium concentrates manufacturing plant of Saelices El Chico (Salamanca) is expected to start shortly. The uranium concentrates from ENUSA comes from COMINAK and from several foreign companies. COMINAK is a company from Niger, owned by several foreign companies including ENUSA, which holds 10% of its shares.

  • Uranium conversion and enrichment: There are no uranium conversion and enrichment facilities in Spain. ENUSA owns 11% of Eurodif, a European consortium with enrichment factories in France. ENUSA is in charge of uranium, enrichment and conversion services contracting, for the supply of enriched uranium to the Spanish nuclear reactors, acting as a procurement manager. ENUSA has signed several contracts with companies abroad for these activities.

  • Fuel fabrication: ENUSA operates a nuclear fuel manufacturing plant located in Juzbado (Salamanca) that produces fuel elements for most PWRs and BWRs in Spain (all, except for Trillo NPP) and for some reactors abroad. In 2012, 918 fuel assemblies were manufactured, which in all are equivalent to 357.4 tons of uranium. Of the total production, 690 fuel assemblies containing 252.1 tU have been exported to Belgium, France, Sweden and Germany, representing around 75% of the total production.

Back End Activities:

The back end of the nuclear fuel cycle is understood to include the processes relating to the interim storage of spent fuel, waste management, reprocessing and ultimate disposal. In Spain, except for the reprocessing, these activities are undertaken by ENRESA, a State owned company, which was set up in 1984. Spain has opted for an open cycle for the nuclear spent fuel, which means that the spent fuel remains temporarily stored in the plant pools, complemented with other transitory storage systems, pending its final management. Reprocessing is not undertaken in Spain, although, in the past, Spain initially opted for the reprocessing of spent fuel from some NPPs, and their spent fuel was sent abroad for reprocessing. As a result of this, various intermediate and high level wastes resulting from reprocessing are to be returned to Spain in the following years.

As commented above, ENRESA is in charge of the radioactive waste management activities and the dismantling of nuclear installations, as established in the Nuclear Energy Act, as amended by Law 11/2009 (for detailed information, see section 2.6). The tutelage of ENRESA corresponds to the MINETUR, via the Secretariat of State for Energy. The State is the owner of radioactive wastes once they have been definitively disposed of. Likewise, it shall undertake whatever surveillance might be required following the decommissioning of a nuclear facility, following the period of time established in the corresponding declaration of decommissioning.

On the other hand, the Government is responsible for establishing the policy regarding radioactive waste management, including spent nuclear fuel, and the dismantling and decommissioning of nuclear facilities, through the approval of the General Radioactive Waste Plan (GRWP).

ENRESA is assigned the following duties:

  • Radioactive waste treatment and conditioning.

  • Searching for locations, design, construction and operation of interim and final storage centres for high, medium and low level radioactive wastes.

  • Management of the different operations related to the decommissioning of nuclear and radioactive installations.

  • Establishing systems for collecting, transferring and transporting radioactive wastes.

  • Giving support to civil protection services in case of nuclear emergencies.

  • Final and safe conditioning of wastes derived from the mining and milling processes.

  • Assuring of the long-term management of every radioactive waste storage facility.

  • Carrying out the appropriate technical and economic studies, considering the deferred costs and to outline the proper economic policy.

ENRESA operates a medium and low-level radioactive waste disposal facility located in “El Cabril” (Córdoba), in operation since 1992. On July 21st 2008, the MINETUR granted the license of a new very low level waste disposal facility situated in the same site, consisting of 4 cells with a total capacity of 130,000 m3. For the time being, only one cell with a total capacity of 33,000 m3 has been constructed and is operating.

As established by Royal Decree 1349/2003, ENRESA draws up a review of the GRWP, and forwards it to the MINETUR. According to law, the GRWP is then submitted for approval to the Government, following a report by the Nuclear Safety Council and after having heard the Autonomous Communities in relation to land planning and environment.

The GRWP itself is the basic reference document that deals with all the strategies and actions to be undertaken in Spain in the different fields of radioactive waste management and the dismantling of facilities, along with the corresponding economic-financial study. On June 23rd 2006 the Spanish Government approved the 6th GRWP. The basic reference scenario therein established may be summarized as follows:

  • Current nuclear fleet with 6 NPP’s in operation (8 reactors). The installed electrical power as of December 31st, 2005, 7,876 MWe, was reduced to 7,716 MWe as a result of the definitive shutdown of José Cabrera NPP on April 30th, 2006.

  • 40 years service lifetime for the 6 operating NPP’s with a production rate similar to that existing at present.

  • Open fuel cycle; i.e., the option of reprocessing the spent fuel is not contemplated.

  • Total dismantling (Level 3) of the light water NPP’s, to be initiated 3 years after their definitive shutdown.

On the basis of the abovementioned scenario as described in the GRWP, the total volume of radioactive waste to be managed in Spain, conditioned and ready for definitive disposal at the ENRESA installations at “El Cabril”, will be some 176,300 m3 In the case of the LILW, this also includes those wastes that in view of their very low levels of activity may be managed specifically (VLLW). Furthermore, the volume of wastes not open to disposal at “El Cabril” would amount, following encapsulation, to some 12,800 m3, of which 10,000 m3 would be spent fuel (6,674 tU) and the rest other intermediate or high level wastes from reprocessing or the dismantling of the NPPs.

In terms of High Level Wastes (HLW), the spent fuel from the majority of the Spanish NPPs in operation is currently stored in the pools of the corresponding plants. In view of the forthcoming saturation of the storage capacity of these pools, the original racks were progressively replaced with other more compact units, allowing the deferral, in most cases, of providing additional storage capacity to the pools. However, a storage facility (an ITSF) for Trillo NPP has been in operation since 2002, and two ITSFs for both Ascó I and Ascó II NPPs were licensed in April 2013.

The basic Spanish strategy for the management of spent fuel (SF) and HLW focuses on their temporary storage, on the basis of a dry storage system guaranteeing the safety and protection of people and the environment over the time periods required for their definitive or long term management.

Specifically, the solution proposed, in view of the analyses performed from the technical, strategic and economical points of view, is based on the availability of a vault type Centralised Temporary Storage Facility (CTSF, in Spanish ATC) whose operating period would be some 60 years. From the point of view of economic calculation and planning, it has been assumed that a definitive disposal facility could be put into operation around 2050, which would house the SF, the HLW and those other intermediate activity wastes that cannot be sent to the “El Cabril” facility.

With respect to the ATC for SF and HLW, the MINETUR published on December 29th 2009 in the Official Journal, a Resolution by which a public call for the selection of candidate municipalities to host the ATC was launched. The project will include a storage facility able to accept 6,700 tU of SF, as well as all other RW which are not suitable for disposal at “El Cabril” disposal site. In addition, a Technology Centre is to be built in order to assure the technologies and knowledge for SF and HLW for final management following ENRESA’s R&D Plan. The investment, in the range of €900 million, will last 19 years in three phases. The project consists of a dry storage system with 12 vaults and natural convection air cooling. In 2006, the Nuclear Safety Council gave its favourable consideration to the generic design.

Municipalities had one month to present their applications, which included a formal decision of the City Council. 14 applications were presented, out of them 8 were considered to comply with the criteria established in the public call. A great number of allegations were presented within the period established in the call; and a report on the assessment of the allegations was published. In September 2010, based on the sites suggested by the candidates, the final assessment report proposing the sites to host the ATC was approved by the Interministerial Commission created in 2006 for this purpose, and referred to the Government. Finally, in December 2011, the Government selected the candidature of "Villar de Cañas" (province of Cuenca) as the selected site for the ATC, by means of an Agreement of the Cabinet of Ministers. All the information on this process is published in

Further steps towards the operation of the facility will be the development of the detailed design, the licensing of the facility and its subsequent construction. As for the licensing process, the first step will be ENRESA’s request for the preliminary and construction authorizations, which, according to the Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities Regulation, can be granted jointly. The preliminary authorization requires an Environmental Impact Statement, which will be carried out jointly with the authorisation.

To date, ENRESA has acquired the properties, which include a 55-hectare lot for the installation and laboratories and another one measuring 6 hectares that will house a business incubator to support the project and favour economic development in the region. In addition, the site characterization works have begun, which includes everything from soil studies to demographic analyses, which will complete previous works already done. ENRESA has recently awarded the contracts for the main engineering works, in three different lots.

According to planning, the facility and the nuclear fuel laboratory could be operational in the second half of 2017.

2.8. Research and development

2.8.1. R&D organizations

The MINETUR, in collaboration with the Nuclear Safety Council, the electricity industry and other agents involved in the nuclear sector, set up in 2007 a Technology Platform on Fission Nuclear Energy (CEIDEN), in order to coordinate the different national programs and plans on R&D and foster the participation of Spanish companies or institutions in international R&D programs. This Platform is the continuation of the Strategic Committee established in 1999, and is currently composed of around 80 members. The five main programs that CEIDEN is working on are:

  • Dry storage and transport of spent fuel

  • Management of radioactive wastes and radiological protection

  • Study and use of materials coming from José Cabrera NPP: concrete

  • Study and use of materials coming from José Cabrera NPP: internals (ZIRP)

  • New nuclear designs (Jules Horowitz Reactor initiative; ESNII(European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative) España)

  • Education +

The Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness elaborates every four years a Research and Development National Plan which defines the general framework of the Spanish R&D and innovation policy. In early 2013, the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for period 2013-2020 and the National Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation for period 2013-2016 were adopted. In the Plan, sustainable nuclear energy is included within the “Safe, Efficient and Clean Energy” Challenge.

CIEMAT is an institution attached to the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. One of its duties is nuclear research. It collaborates with several institutions in Spain and abroad.

In ENRESA´s 2009-2013 R&D program five major areas have been defined:

  • Waste technology

  • Treatment, conditioning and dismantling technology and processes

  • Confinement materials and systems

  • Behaviour assessment, radiological protection and modelling

  • Infrastructures and coordination

The content of the Plan is governed by the directives mapped out for these activities in the GRWP. The directives of the current GRWP are focussed on providing support for the CTS facility and ENRESA’s operating installations, including those that are to be dismantled, on developing separation and transmutation capacities and on providing support for basic generic long-term storage projects. The total investment in R&D for this period amounts to €26 million, of which €3.5 million correspond to the completion of the previous ENRESA’s R&D Plan (2004-2009), and the remainder (€22.5 million) to the new Plan.

The Nuclear Safety Council develops a four-year R&D Plan (2012-2015). This plan includes a number of projects which are undertaken in collaboration with different national and international organisations, among which special mention might be made of the Spanish universities, public centres and companies. The current CSN’s R&D Plan includes the following programmes:

  • Nuclear fuel operation and management

  • Materials performance and life management

  • Development of codes and modelling

  • Methodologies of safety analysis

  • Internal and external events

  • Severe accidents

  • Radioactive waste

  • Radiation exposures control and environmental protection

  • Dosimetry and radiobiology

  • Radiological protection of the patient

  • Emergency management

  • Security

2.8.2. Development of advanced nuclear technologies

For the R&D programs dealing with Advanced Reactors, see section 2.8.3.

In Spain there is no implementation plan on advanced nuclear technologies.

2.8.3. International co-operation and initiatives

Spain, as member of the European Union, carries out most of its international activities within the Community framework.

In the EU, one of the most important programmes is the R&D Framework Programme (FP) for nuclear research and training activities for the period 2012-2013. Under the 7th FP, €2.7 billion are available for research activities in fusion energy, and nuclear fission and radiation protection.

Spain also participates in programmes for technical assistance to other countries. Until 2006, the TACIS Nuclear Safety Programme was the main instrument of the EU for improving the safety of nuclear installations in third countries, namely in Eastern and Central Europe. Since 2007, the Community assistance to third countries is being provided through the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC), which implies an extension of the geographical scope of the aids.

Spain also participates in the Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan and is Member of the Contributor Assembly Fund established in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Spain is one of the 39 members of the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO), whose objective is to support the safe, sustainable, economic and proliferation-resistant use of nuclear technology to meet the global energy needs of the 21st century.

On September 2007, a European Technology Platform on Sustainable Nuclear Energy (SNETP) was launched. This platform aims to fully support through R&D programmes the role of nuclear energy in Europe’s energy mix, its contributions to the security and competitiveness of energy supply, as well as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve this objective, SNETP has elaborated a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), published in February 2013, which substitutes the former SRA. It gathers about 80 members from industry, research, academia, technical safety organisations, non-governmental organisations and national representatives, including some Spanish organisations or enterprises, such as CIEMAT, Deloitte, Endesa, Iberdrola, Empresarios Agrupados, or Tecnatom.

In the context of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), it is worth noting the formal launch in November 2010 of the European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative (ESNII), which is a major initiative to help develop a new generation of nuclear energy reactors designed to respond to Europe’s growing energy needs. This group of industry and research partners will promote Europe’s leadership in the development of the so-called Generation IV Fast Neutron Reactor Technology. CIEMAT participates in the task force created under the umbrella of the ESNII.

Moreover, Spain participates in the programmes and Committees of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA/OECD) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

2.9. Human resources development

Nuclear Engineering and Master Programmes are active in three universities and CIEMAT. In Spain, the good quality of the Spanish nuclear education has been certified by the Spanish National Accreditation Agency (ANECA). The Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) has received the ANECA Quality Award for its Masters in Nuclear Science and Technology. Furthermore, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) has launched a new Master in Nuclear Technology in collaboration with one of the Spanish utilities (ENDESA).

Apart from universities, research institutes have been very active in education and training activities. A one-year Master in Nuclear Technology and Applications has been established by CIEMAT. Nuclear Research is also conducted in other research institutes involved with education programmes and the tutoring of doctoral theses, whose collaboration with other national and international institutions (e.g. universities such as Nevada or Penn State) have enhanced an increasing mobility and have attracted new students who will compensate for the rising need of human resources in the field.

It is also worth mentioning the important role played by the Nuclear Industry Forum and the Spanish Nuclear Society (SNE) regarding education and training: seminars, Summer Schools and the provision of grants and prizes for students.

Finally, in order to contribute to ensuring that NPPs and other industrial facilities have optimally qualified operations, maintenance, engineering and technical support personnel whose performance serves to improve safety, availability and economic efficiency, TECNATOM provides overall training services in the following fields:

  • Process technology

  • Operation and maintenance

  • Materials, non-destructive testing

  • Human factors

  • Management skills

Similarly, the engineering company Empresarios Agrupados and CIEMAT are also setting up new training programmes.

2.10. Stakeholder Communication

Stakeholder communication is present in the activities performed by the different organisations related to nuclear energy.

The Nuclear Safety Council’s most important mission is to guarantee that people and the environment are protected against radiation, but an essential part of this objective includes working with maximum transparency to ensure that the public is duly informed. The obligations for the Council regarding information and communication are channelled along three routes: information for the state institutions, in the neighbourhood of nuclear installations, and for the general public

With respect to communication, one of the most important means is its website (, which provides interest groups and the general public with documents offering detailed information on the work done, including the minutes of the plenary meetings, inspection reports and other useful information, such as publications, current regulations, replies to parliamentary questions, operating status of NPPs, events reported by the licensees and the environmental values collected. Furthermore, since 2007 it is possible to access the Integrated Plant Supervision System (SISC), which has become a fundamental tool with respect to the transparency of communication with the public on the assessment of NPP performance and the planning of its regulatory efforts.

In addition, Law 33/2007, of November 7th, which modified the Law 15/1980 creating the Nuclear Safety Council, was very ambitious as regards public information, the objective clearly being to increase the transparency of the organisation and promote confidence among the members of the public regarding the activities of the Council. The Law also contemplates the existence of an Advisory Committee for Public Information and Participation, made up of representatives of various social organisations and institutions, the mission of which is to make recommendations to improve transparency and propose measures to stimulate access to information and the participation of the public in areas for which the Council is responsible.

The MINETUR also provides information through its web page ( It provides that, prior to the granting of most of the licences for nuclear installations, the corresponding documentation must be transferred to the Autonomous Communities with responsibilities in relation to land planning and the environment whose territory houses the facility. Within the arrangements for the request for the preliminary license of a NPP, a specific public information process is envisaged. According to the Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities Regulation, the MINETUR will send a copy of the request to the respective regional Government Office for the latter to open a period of public information, this being initiated through the publication in the Official State Gazette and that of the corresponding Autonomous Community of an extract announcement setting out the objective and the main characteristics of the facility. This announcement shall establish that those persons and entities that consider themselves to be affected by the project may, within 30 days, present whatever written allegations they deem to be appropriate. As for nuclear regulatory matters, the MINETUR publishes in its web page the bills and other general regulation provisions projects as part of the legislative process.

The Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities Regulation contemplates the operation of local information committees, which are forums for information and public participation whose objective is to provide information and education for the local population on nuclear safety and radiation protection, for which an annual meeting is held. It is presided over by the MINETUR.

As for environmental matters, Spain ratified in 2004 the Aarhus Convention, which is materialised in the national legislation through Law 27/2006, of July 18th, regulating rights of access to information, public participation and access to justice in relation to environmental issues.


3.1. Regulatory framework

3.1.1. Regulatory authority(s)

In Spain, the regulatory function in nuclear matters is undertaken by several different authorities:

  • The Government is in charge of energy policy and of issuing binding regulatory standards.

  • The MINETUR is the Department of the General State Administration responsible for nuclear energy. Its main tasks and duties are:

    • to dictate norms and rules;

    • to grant licenses for:

      - nuclear and radioactive installations;

      - transport of radioactive materials;

      - nuclear materials commerce and trading.

Other powers are:

  • to suspend permits, in some specific cases;

  • to sanction the law transgressions;

  • to propose the radioactive waste policy;

  • to follow up the compliance of international commitments, such as non-proliferation, physical protection or civil liability;

  • to manage the Administrative Registers on Nuclear items.

  • The Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) is the sole Organization competent in nuclear safety and radiological protection matters in Spain. The Council is formed by 5 Commissioners (one of which is the President) which are designated by the Government through a proposal of the MINETUR. They must be accepted by a 3/5 majority of the Parliament.

At present, the technical workforce of the Council consists of around 460 people. It has two permanent resident inspectors at every NPP site. The main tasks of the Council are:

  • to issue the required Safety Reports, previous to the authorization by the MINETUR;

  • to carry out all kind of inspections with capability to suspend the activity in case of risk;

  • to propose to the Government norms and rules concerning nuclear safety and radiological protection;

  • to propose to the MINETUR sanctions in matters of nuclear safety and radiation protection;

  • to grant licenses for operators of nuclear and radioactive installations;

  • to inform the public about subjects of its competence;

  • to report every year to the Parliament about its activities.

3.1.2. Licensing Process

The nuclear installation licensing procedure in Spain is regulated by Law 25/1964, of April 29th, on Nuclear Energy, as amended. The provisions of this Law have been developed by Royal Decree 1836/1999, of December 3rd, approving the Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities Regulation, on the procedure for licensing the nuclear and radioactive installations regulation. To license nuclear installations, the following successive authorizations are needed(2):

  • Preliminary or site authorization, which constitutes an official recognition of the proposed objective and of the suitability of the selected site;

  • Construction authorization, which empowers the licensee to start up the construction of the installation;

  • Operation authorization, which allows the licensee to load the nuclear fuel in the plant and to operate the installation in accordance with the conditions set out in the authorisation.

For plant dismantling and plant modification, an authorization is required prior to the activity. Figure 3 shows the nuclear installation licensing procedure. These authorizations and permissions are granted by the MINETUR, under previous and perceptive report referring to nuclear safety and radiological protection issued by the CSN. This report is binding if negative in its findings or denying authorisation, or as regards the conditions established when positive.

To obtain these authorizations and permissions, the documents determined in the current regulations must be submitted to the licensing authorities and the suitable tests, analyses and validations must be performed. Nuclear installations require authorizations granted by other administrative bodies, belonging to local administrations, according to the rules of these bodies, although these cannot be denied or conditioned for safety-related reasons. Before granting the preliminary or the decommissioning authorization, a 30 day period is established for public hearings. During this period, anyone can present allegations. This public information process is developed jointly with the information process required for the Environmental Impact Assessment, which must be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

FIG. 3. Licensing of nuclear installations

3.2. Main national laws and regulations in nuclear power

In Spain, nuclear power is governed by a large number of provisions in the form of Laws, Royal Decrees and Ministerial Orders. In a more detailed level, the CSN approves instructions, which are binding technical standards, as well as other non binding documents.

The main provisions are the following:

  • The Nuclear Energy Act, as amended (Law 25/1964, of April 29th, on Nuclear Energy; Official State Gazette 04.05.1964). It defines basic concepts: identification of administrative authorities and organisations, system of authorisations of nuclear and radioactive facilities and for the possession and use of radioactive materials, measures for safety and protection against ionising radiation, nuclear third party liability for nuclear damages or sanctions regime. This law was modified in 2009 by Law 11/2009, of October 26th (Official State Gazette 27.10.2009) in order to regulate some provisions related to the radioactive waste management, which are detailed in other sections of this document.

  • The regulatory body (CSN) is governed by the provisions of Law 15/1980, of April 22nd, creating the Nuclear Safety Council (Official State Gazette 25.04.1980), and by its Statute, approved by Royal Decree 1440/2010, of November 5th (Official State Gazette 22.11.2010). Several acts and regulations have amended some of the initial provisions, particularly Law 14/1999, of May 4th, governing Public Tariffs and Prices for its services (Official State Gazette 05.05.1999). Law 15/1980 was extensively amended by Law 33/2007, of November 7th (Official State Gazette 08.11.2007) in order to take into account: the acquired experience during the last years, add all the amendments from 1980, adapt it to the increasing social sensibility related to environment, add the required mechanisms that manage to guarantee the effective independence and reinforce both transparency and efficiency of such Council.

  • The Nuclear Energy Act has been developed by Royal Decree 1836/1999, of December 3rd, approving the Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities Regulation (Official State Gazette 31.12.1999) and by Royal Decree 783/2001, of July 6th, which formulates the Regulation of Sanitary Protection against Ionised Radiation (Official State Gazette 26.07.2001), and substitutes the previous one, in force since 1992. Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities Regulation was extensively amended by Royal Decree 35/2008, of January 18th, (Official State Gazette 18.02.2008). For its part, Royal Decree 783/2001 has been recently amended by Royal Decree 1439/2010, of November 5th (Official State Gazette 18.11.2010), in order to modify some provisions related to natural sources of ionising radiation.

  • In addition to the Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities Regulation, there are other more specific Regulations governing radioactive substance or facilities, in particular Royal Decree 1085/2009, of July 3rd, approving the Regulation on the installation and use of medical diagnosis X-ray devices (Official State Gazette 18.07.2009), or Royal Decree 229/2006, of February 24th, on the control of high activity encapsulated radioactive sources and orphan sources (Official State Gazette 28.02.2006).

  • In addition to the Regulation of Sanitary Protection against Ionised Radiation, the Spanish legislation includes other standards relating to radiation protection, in particular: Royal Decree 1132/1990, of September 14th, which establishes fundamental measures for the radiological protection of persons submitted to medical examinations and treatments (Official State Gazette 18.09.1990); Royal Decree 413/1997, of March 21st, on operational protection of off-site workers exposed to ionising radiations as a result of their intervention in the controlled zone (Official State Gazette 16.04.1997); or Royal Decree 815/2001, of July 13th, on justification of the use of ionising radiations for the radiological protection of persons submitted to medical exposures (Official State Gazette 14.07.2001).

  • The provisions related with nuclear fuel cycle, initially contained in a Royal Decree of 1979, are at present covered by different legal texts. Royal Decree 1464/1999, of September 17th (Official State Gazette 05.10.1999), governs the front-end of nuclear fuel cycle and tends to liberalize the supplies, according to Law 54/1997, of November 27th, on the Electric Sector (Official State Gazette 28.11.1997).

  • Several Acts and Decrees are applicable to the back end of the fuel cycle (apart from the Nuclear Energy Act), among others the following:

  • Royal Decree 1349/2003, of October 31st, on regulation of ENRESA activities and funding (Official State Gazette 08.11.2003). This Royal Decree will be repealed by a new Royal Decree that will transpose Council Directive 2011/70/EURATOM, of 19 July 2011, establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste.

  • The sixth additional provision of Law 54/1997, of November 27th, on the Electric Sector (Official State Gazette 28.11.1997), amended by Law 11/2009 (Official State Gazette 27.10.2009), regulates the fund for the financing of radioactive waste and spent fuel management, including the dismantling and decommissioning of nuclear facilities, known as the “Fund for the financing of activities included in the General Radioactive Waste Plan”.

  • Civil nuclear liability for nuclear damage, currently regulated under the Nuclear Energy Act, is ruled in accordance with the principles on International Conventions in this field in which Spain is Contracting Party (Paris and Brussels Conventions). In year 2004, these Conventions were modified. In order to adapt these amendments to Spanish legislation, Law 12/2011, of May 27th, on civil liability for nuclear damage or damage caused by radioactive materials (Official State Gazette 28.05.2011), will regulate, when the amendment of the Conventions will enter intro force, the civil liability for nuclear damage in Spain (the entry into force of the Law is subject to the entry into force of the 2004 Protocols that amend both Conventions). In the past years, the amount imposed to operators to cover the civil liability has been modified in accordance with the OECD recommendations. Currently, this amount is established in of 700 million euros, according to the modifications introduced by Law 17/2007. A lower limit can be imposed by the MINETUR to installations and transports of lower risk, provided that the amount is not inferior to 30 million euros. Law 12/2011 will impose an obligation upon the operators of 1 200 million euros.

  • Spanish regime in relation to safeguards and non-proliferation is governed by the Euratom Regulation nº 302/2005, which enacts chapter VII on the control of security of the Euratom Treaty. The Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement signed jointly between State, EURATOM and the IAEA, is adapted by means of Royal Decree 1206/2003, of September 19th, for the application of the commitments undertaken by the Spanish State in the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement deriving from the Treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (Official State Gazette 08.10.2003).

  • As for physical protection, Royal Decree 1308/2011, of September 26th, on physical protection of installations and radioactive materials, and of radioactive sources (Official State Gazette 07.10.2011), incorporates into Spanish legislation the commitments accepted by Spain on physical protection matters, particularly the Amendment to the Convention on the physical protection of nuclear materials (approved in July 2005), the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ratified in January 2007), and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 of 2004 on no proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. It repeals the former Royal Decree 158/1995, of February 3rd, on the physical protection of nuclear materials.

  • The commercial regime for imports and exports is determined by the EU regulations and specific national legislation, as Law 53/2007, of December 28th, on the control of overseas trading of defence and dual-use materials (Official State Gazette 29.12.2007), and developed by Royal Decree 2061/2008, of December 12th (Official State Gazette 07.01.2009).

  • Mining regime is regulated by the Mines Act (Act 22/1973), of July 21st, (Official State Gazette 24.07.1973), and by Royal Decree 2857/1978, of August 25th, approving the General Regulation for the Mining Sector (Official State Gazette 11.12.1978), as well as by the Nuclear Energy Act.

  • As for emergency response, the planning and preparation for nuclear emergency situations is regulated basically by the Basic Nuclear Emergency Plan (PLABEN), approved by Royal Decree 1546/2004, of June 25th (Official State Gazette 14.07.2004), and modified by Royal Decree 1428/2009, of September 11th (Official State Gazette 12.09.2009), and by the Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities Regulation.

  • Transport of radioactive materials is regulated in a great number of provisions, including, among others, the Nuclear Energy Act, the Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities Regulation, as well as other more specific standards applicable to the transport of hazardous goods:

    • Transports by road: Royal Decree 551/2006, of May 5th, regulating road transport operations with hazardous goods in the Spanish territory (Official State Gazette 12.05.2006), incorporates the provisions of the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR).

    • Rail transports: Royal Decree 412/2001, of April 20th, regulating some aspects relating to the transport of hazardous good by rail (Official State Gazette 08.01.2001), incorporates the provisions of the Regulation concerning the International Carriage of Goods by Rail (RID).

    • Air transports: National Regulation on the transport without risk of hazardous goods by air, approved by Royal Decree 1749/1984, of August 1st (Official State Gazette 02.10.1984), incorporates the provisions contained in the Technical Instructions for the transport without risk of hazardous good by air of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

    • Maritime transports: The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code (Official State Gazette 21.12.2005), published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the National Admission, Handling and Storage Regulation for hazardous goods at ports, approved by Royal Decree 145/1989, of January 20th (Official State Gazette 13.02.1989). In compliance with the latter, ports must have an internal emergency Plan.

All technical provisions of radioactive material transport contained in the aforementioned Regulations are founded in the safety standard of the IAEA “Regulations for the safe transport of radioactive materials”.

  • As for taxes applicable to nuclear installations or activities, Law 15/2012, of December 27th, on fiscal measures for energy sustainability (Official State Gazette 28.12.2012), has introduced two new taxes applicable in the national territory: The tax on the production of spent fuel and radioactive waste as a consequence of the nuclear energy generation, and the tax on spent fuel and radioactive waste storage in centralized installations.


España Anuario Estadístico (various years). INE.

World Bank Data.

Boletín Estadístico de Hidrocarburos (various years).

La energía en España (various years) Ministerio de Industria, Energía y Turismo.

Instituto para la diversificación y ahorro de la energía (IDAE,

Sixth General Radioactive Waste Plan (June 006) (

IAEA Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).

Spanish Power Nuclear Power Plants in 2012-UNESA.

El sistema eléctrico español (various years).

Nuclear Legislation in OECD Countries – Report Spain (

Survey of Energy Resources 2010 (Wold Energy Council).

Nuclear Education and Training: From Concern to Capability (NEA, 2012).

La Industria Nuclear Española (Foro de la Industria Nuclear Española, 2011).


In 1985, Spain adhered to the Treaties that constitute the European Communities and in January 1st 1986 Spain became a European Communities Member State. From this moment, international and national legislation applicable in Spain is accomplished according to the rules of the European Union.

Moreover, Spain is a Member State of the IAEA and of the OECD/NEA, whose Constitutive Treaties, Conventions and additional Treaties have been ratified.

AreaTreatyDocumentSignatureSpanish SignatureEffect DateEffect Date for Spain
SafeguardsNPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty)INFCIRC/14001.07.196805.03.197005.11.1987
Agreement between the European Atomic Energy Community and the Agency in implementation of Article III (1) and (4) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear WeaponsINFCIRC/19305.04.197321.02.197705.04.1989
Protocol additional to the Agreement between the European Atomic Energy Community and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards GOV/1998/3022.09.199822.09.199830.04.200430.04.2004
Physical ProtectionConvention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material INFCIRC/274/Rev103.03.198007.04.198608.02.198706.10.1991
Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material 08.07.2005Not yetNot yet
Civil LiabilityVienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage and its Protocol to Amend (IAEA)INFCIRC/500 INFCIRC/56621.05.1963
Revised: 12.09.1997
Signed 1963 convention (not the amendment)12.12.1977
Revised: 04.10.2003
Paris Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage 1960,1964,1982 (OECD)29.07.1960
Protocol to Amend the Paris Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (2004) (OECD)12.02.200412.02.2004Not yetNot yet
Brussels Supplementary Convention to Paris Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (OECD)31.01.1963
Protocol to Amend the Brussels Supplementary Convention (2004) (OECD)12.02.200412.02.2004Not yetNot yet
Convention on supplementary compensation for nuclear damage (IAEA)INFCIRC/56729.09.1997No signatureNot yet
Joint Protocol relating to the application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention (IAEA & OECD)INFCIRC/40221.09.198821.09.198827.04.1992Not yet
Nuclear SafetyConvention on Nuclear SafetyINFCIRC/44920.09.199415.10.199424.10.199624.10.1996
Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste ManagementINFCIRC/54605.09.199730.06.199818.06.200118.06.2001
Nuclear TestsCTBTO (Comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty organization)10.09.199624.09.1996No yet, waiting for the signature of some required states, such as India, Pakistan or USANo yet, waiting for the signature of some required states, such as India, Pakistan or USA
Partial test ban (Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and under Water)05.08.196313.08.196310.10.196317.08.1964
Nuclear AccidentsConvention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident INFCIRC/33526.09.198626.09.198627.10.198614.10.1989
Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency INFCIRC/33626.09.198626.09.198626.02.198714.10.1989
IAEAAgreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Atomic Energy AgencyINFCIRC/9 Rev201.07.1959Approved by Border Governors29.07.196021.05.1984
Revised Supplementary Agreement Concerning the Provision of Technical Assistance by the IAEA RSAnot apply10.06.1980not apply10.06.1980
Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the ITER International Fusion Energy Organization for the Joint Implementation of the ITER ProjectINFCIRC/70321.11.2006EURATOM24.10.200724.10.2007
Nuclear TerrorismInternational Convention for the suppression of International Terrorism13.04.200514.09.200507.07.200707.07.2007
OthersAntarctic Treaty01.12.195923.06.196131.03.1982
Sea-bed treaty11.02.197118.05.197215.07.1987
Outer Space Treaty…Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space…27.01.196710.10.1967
GroupsZangger CommitteeINFCIRC/20924.05.190501.05.1993
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)INFCIRC/254 parts I y II27.05.190510.06.1905
Wassenaar Agreement19.12.199519.12.1995



Ministerio de Industria, Energía y Turismo
Paseo de la Castellana, 160
E-28046 Madrid

Tel: +34 902 44 60 06
Fax: +34 91 457 80 66
Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear (CSN)
Nuclear safety and radiological protection
Justo Dorado Dellmans, 11
E-28040 Madrid

Tel: +34 91 346 01 00
Fax: +34 91 346 05 88

Vandellós II
Santa María de Garoña

Research and Development Centre
Avenida Complutense, 22
E-28040 Madrid

Tel.: +34 91 346 60 00
Fax: +34 91 346 60 05
Asociación Española de la Industria Eléctrica
Francisco Gervás, 3
28020 Madrid

Tel.: +34 91 567 49 00
Fax: +34 91-567 49 88
Service inspection and maintenance
Avenida Montes de Oca, 1
28703 San Sebastián de los Reyes (MADRID)

Tel.: +34 91 659 86 00
Fax: +34 91 659 86 77
Magallanes, 3 28015 Madrid

Tel.: +34 91 309 80 00
Fax: +34-91 591 26 55
Back-end of the fuel cycle
Emilio Vargas, 7
28043 Madrid

Tel.: +34 91566 81 00
Fax: +34 91 566 81 69
Front-end of the fuel cycle
Santiago Rusiñol, 12
28040 Madrid

Tel.: +34 91 347 42 00
Fax: +34 91 347 42 15
Association for fusion (Spain)
Technology Platform on Fission Nuclear Energy
Nuclear Engineering Department
Polytechnic University of Madrid
Gas Natural Fenosa
Spanish Nuclear Industrial Forum
Spanish Nuclear Society (SNE)

(1) Due to the acquisition of Unión Fenosa Generación, S.A., by Gas Natural SDG. S.A., the transfer of ownership was authorised by Order of the MITYC in 2010.

(2) Other authorisations are requested during the lifetime of a NPP: authorisation for modification, authorisation for modification performance and assembly, dismantling permit and declaration of decommissioning.