The nuclear plants threaten the early closure of the plants if the Government cuts them the so-called 'profits fallen from the sky'
Exterior of the Almaraz nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Forum, an entity that includes companies with businesses in this sector (including large electricity companies: Endesa, Iberdrola, Naturgy and EDP) has announced that if the bill on the remuneration of CO₂ from the electricity market is approved, it will withdraw the calls benefits fallen from the sky received by companies for not emitting carbon dioxide, “it would be impossible for the Spanish nuclear power plants to continue.” In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, the lobby states that said bill “should not apply to nuclear energy.” In his opinion, “coupled with the current excessive tax pressure would lead to the cessation of the activity of the entire nuclear park.” On the other hand, it also points out that “the Royal Decree-law approved by the Council of Ministers, even though it is of temporary application, goes even further into penalizing nuclear power generation”.

According to the Nuclear Forum, “the actual sale price of nuclear power generation, once the CO₂ price has been reduced, it should not be less than 57-60 euros MWh with the current tax level ”, he points out. In this regard, he adds: “If this bill had been in force, the renewal of the operating authorizations for our plants would not have been requested,” he underlines and adds that if the law comes into force, “it should not be applied retroactively in any case”.

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The purpose of the bill is to reduce the price of CO₂ from the remuneration of those facilities that were put into service before October 25, 2003, prior to the establishment by the European Union of the market for CO₂ emission rights. The measure also affects hydroelectric plants and the first renewables that could be started up before that date.

Necessary investments

The Forum recalls that Spanish nuclear power plants operate with operating authorizations that are periodically renewed and that those currently in force were requested by their owners and granted by the corresponding ministry after that date. “Therefore, at the time of the request and to carry out the necessary investment decisions,” he states, “the mechanism for assigning EU emission rights and the price of CO₂ on the international market were taken into account. With this bill in force, the renewals of the authorizations would not have been requested, several of them very recent ”.

For the entity, “the excessive fiscal pressure that the Spanish nuclear park supports and the impact of the draft of the CO2 Law in its current wording (together they can exceed 30 euros MWh), together with the planned 3,000 million euros of investments until the cessation of the operation of the nuclear park in 2035 (in an environment of future prices below 50 euros MWh from 2024 and down due to the massive entry of renewable energies into the system with marginal costs tending to zero) would lead to its unviability economic-financial and would lead to the early cessation of the activity “.

The president, Ignacio Araluce, emphasizes that the early cessation of nuclear technology would lead to a disorderly shutdown of nuclear generation, the consequent loss of jobs and industrial fabric, a greater dependence on foreign energy and an increase in price volatility in the wholesale market. It would also prevent, in his opinion, the fulfillment of the objectives of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 (PNIEC), especially in relation to the reduction of CO₂ emissions, since the closure would mean an increase of about 22 million tons / year ”.

Seven nuclear groups operate in Spain (Almaraz 1 and 2, Trillo, Cofrentes, Vandellós 2 and Ascó 1 and 2), whose ownership is mainly divided between Endesa and Iberdrola, and to a lesser extent Naturgy and EDP. Its production is around 20% of the national energy park and its closure is scheduled between 2027 and 2035 after the Government has agreed with the entities.

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