SPAIN: Socialists promise nuclear shutdown if elected

The Socialist candidate for the Spanish presidency has promised voters that his party will seek legislation to shut down all of Spain's nuclear power stations by 2015, replacing them with natural gas and renewable energy.

Joaquín Almunia, who will campaign for the presidency in Spain’s upcoming national elections, committed to closing the nuclear power stations at Zorita and Garoña – already under the multi-year process of decommissioning – the year after coming into power. Almunia also promised to present legislation during the first session of Parliament to close down Spain’s remaining seven nuclear power stations by 2015.

According to Spanish daily El País, an anti-nuclear group within the Socialist party has been investigating the costs and feasibility of decommissioning the country’s nuclear power stations for several years.

Presenting the campaign promise, Almunia said that “alternative energias” that are “clean and secure” would be replace nuclear-generated electricity. “I announce this with total solemnity,” said Almunia.

Acknowledging that other social democratic parties in Europe have promoted nuclear decommissioning, in particular German and Swedish parties, Almunia said: “I’m not trying to be original”.

Nuclear decommissioning will not result in an increase in electricity costs, according to the Socialist party.

Currently, 30.2% of Spain’s total electricity production is nuclear generated and the Socialists have estimated that the country’s total electricity production capacity exceeds demand (during maximum demand hours) by 25%.

Almunia’s plan to end nuclear power generation in Spain is an additional environmental campaign promise to those contained in the Socialist’s environmental policy document Quality of Life: a guarantee for the future.

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