Nuclear Power Plants

José Cabrera

José Cabrera

The José Cabrera nuclear power plant is located in the municipal area of Almonacid de Zorita (province of Guadalajara) in the region known as the Alcarria, on the banks of the river Tajo.  The plant is owned by the utility Unión Fenosa Generación and was the first nuclear power plant to operate in Spain.  Construction began in 1965 and the plant was connected to the grid in 1969.  It is a Westinghouse pressurised water reactor (PWR) design with an installed power of 150 MW.  During its 38 years of commercial operation, the plant generated 36,515 million kilowatt-hours.


Owner Unión Fenosa Generación
Type PWR
Thermal output 510 MWt
Electrical power 150MW
Cooling Mixed: river Tajo-cooling towers
Construction permit 24/06/1964
Authorisation for start-up 11/10/1968
Definitive shutdown 30/04/2006
Total power produced 36.515 MW/hora

(*) Data corresponding to commercial operation.  At present the plant is in the definitive shutdown situation.


Significant facts

This plant has been in the definitive shutdown situation since April 30th 2006 (Ministerial Order by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade of April 20th 2006).  This situation, which is contemplated in article 28 of the regulation on Nuclear and Radioactive Facilities, covers the activities carried out at the plant from the moment of definitive shutdown of the reactor to granting of the dismantling authorisation.
Apart from maintaining the stored fuel under safe conditions, the activities performed during this period cover the process of leaving the plant in safe conditions for the dismantling work.
These activities include the radiological characterisation of the site, the decontamination of the systems used during operation and activities relating to the removal of the spent fuel.

To initiate future dismantling it is necessary to condition all the operating wastes and remove the spent from the spent fuel pool. In this respect, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade authorised the construction of an Individual Temporary Storage (ITS) facility on the site on December 15th 2006.
This facility, which has already been built, implies the housing of the fuel assemblies in casks especially designed for this purpose at the plant site.  The casks to be used are of the HI-STORM type, this being the model currently used for the storage of spent fuel in the United States. Currently, 377 spent fuel assemblies have been loaded into casks and placed in storage facility.
The request for the change of ownership and for dismantling by ENRESA has been submitted and is currently being assessed by the CSN.

Radiological characterisation of the site

The objective of this programme is the distribution of the potential radioactive contaminants in the different parts of the plant, their spectra and the isotopes of which they are composed.
The site radiological characterisation campaigns are aimed at obtaining a view of the status of the facility from a radiological perspective.  The characterisation process is continuous and depends to a large extent on the results of the aforementioned campaigns and of the different activities carried out at the plant.
Characterisation is necessary for the planning of dismantling, since a radiological understanding of each of the areas, both interior and exterior, will make it possible to develop decontamination strategies and plan the work in such a way as to suitably protect the workers from the radiological point of view.
To date a total 4 characterisation campaigns have been performed.  This characterisation process is not yet completed and will continue throughout the entire dismantling and decommissioning phase, concluding with a final clearance characterisation ensuring the efficiency of the decontamination and guaranteeing the final declassification of the site, with or without conditions.

Decontamination of the primary and auxiliary systems

During the commercial operation of any plant at which fluids are transported under the pressure and temperature conditions corresponding to normal operation, there is corrosion on the inner surface of the piping and on the surface of components in contact with the fluid, part of which comes off and is entrained, finally accumulating in certain positions where flow conditions so allow.  Nuclear power plants are no different in this respect, except that the fluid may contain corrosion products (Co-60, Zr-95, Zn-65, etc.), activation products (Ba-131, Cs-134, etc.) and even fission products (Ce-141, Eu-152 and 154 and Cs-137).
In general, the deposits produced by the products entrained in the fluid translate into the existence of points with higher dose rates, which imply an additional radiological risk during the cutting activities involved in dismantling.
The decontamination of the primary circuit has two objectives: to eliminate these deposits of removable material and to decontaminate the surface of the piping, equipment and components that have been in contact with the primary coolant.  This reduces the levels of radiation and contamination of the primary and auxiliary system piping and facilitates the subsequent dismantling of the major components, leading to a reduction of the individual and collective dose rates of the workers during dismantling.
The chemical decontamination of the primary system of the José Cabrera nuclear power plant has been carried out in three stages, from November 2006 to July 2007.  The final activity values obtained have been around 800 Curies, the decontamination factors being comparable to those of other similar projects.

Removal of spent fuel

The ITS facility built at José Cabrera NPP consists of a reinforced concrete slab measuring approximately 40 x 11 m., on which 16 casks will be placed.  Twelve of these casks will house the fuel assemblies that are currently in the spent fuel pool with their accessories (neutron sources, control rods, etc.), while the other four are expected to store medium and high level wastes from dismantling, basically activated materials from the reactor vessel and damaged accessories that it has not been possible to store in the fuel assemblies.
Data relating to operation of the plant, which are permanently updated, may be consulted on the operational status page of this website, which reflects incidents at the Spanish plants, and at , which shows the evaluation of its operation by the CSN within the framework of the “Integrated Plant Supervision System” (SISC).


Reportable events

All of the events that have occurred since 2005 have been classified as Level 0 or lower on the International Nuclear Events Scale (INES):

The events notified may be consulted in the corresponding section.


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