(Note: the following information was provided by the Country Coordinator for Spain)
Spain possesses a significant infrastructure for the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, from the administrative, technical and economic-financial point of view. As regards the administrative side, there is an organisation based on a relatively ample and developed legislative framework. From the technical and economic view points, the strategies and actions to be undertaken in the different areas of radioactive waste management are included in the successive General Radioactive Waste Plans.
Radioactive waste generation began in Spain during the 1950s with the first use of radioactive isotopes in industrial, medical and research institutions. Currently, the main waste producers in Spain are 7 nuclear power plants (NPP’s), with their nine reactors (8 in operation), the Juzbado Fuel Manufacturing Facility in Salamanca, (owned by ENUSA, a public company in charge of the activities related to the front-end of the nuclear cycle) the CIEMAT research center and up to 1,300 radioactive facilities (RF’s) authorised as of 31st December 2009.
Radioactive Waste Management Policy
Radioactive waste management and planning strategies and the scheduling of major related activities must be approved by government. Accordingly, the Royal Decree that led to creation of the Empresa Nacional de Residuos Radiactivos, S.A. (ENRESA), the body responsible for radioactive waste management activities in Spain, requires the company to draw up every four years or when requested by the Government a revised version of its current General Radioactive Waste Plan (GRWP). This Plan makes proposals for the strategies and main activities to be carried out by ENRESA in regard to its remit. It is submitted by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade to the Government for approval, and where appropriate, with subsequent information to Parliament. The 6th GRWP, still in force, was approved in June 2006.
By law, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade (MITyC) is responsible for enforcing nuclear legislation and for granting licenses, subject to a mandatory and binding report from the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN).
The CSN was set up in 1980 as the only competent body in matters of nuclear safety and radiological protection, and is generally responsible for the regulation and supervision of nuclear installations. This body, governed by public law, is independent of the state administration and reports directly to Parliament.
The Ministry of the Environment, and Rural and Marine affairs (MARM), participates in the licensing process, in collaboration with the CSN, by providing and environmental impact statement, as do regional and local governments in the areas under their competence.
The Empresa Nacional de Residuos Radiactivos, S.A. (ENRESA) was set up in 1984 to be responsible for radioactive waste management and decommissioning of nuclear facilities in Spain. It is a state-owned company whose shareholders are the Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT) and the Spanish State Industrial Holding (SEPI), both governmental institutions. ENRESA operates as a management company whose role is to develop radioactive waste management programmes according to policy and strategy approved by the Spanish Government, by way of a General Radioactive Waste Plan proposed by ENRESA.
The activities for which ENRESA is responsible are as follows:
- Handling, treatment and conditioning of radioactive waste in some specific cases (for instance institutional producers);
- Site design, construction and operation of centralised storage and disposal facilities;
- Setting up of the necessary systems for collection, transfer and transport of radioactive wastes;
- Decommissioning and dismantling of nuclear installations;
- Conditioning of uranium mining and milling tailings when required;
- Support to civil protection services in cases of nuclear emergency;
- Establish R&D plans necessary to carry out its duties;
- Management of the Fund for financing of the activities included in the GRWP.