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Spain's oldest nuclear plant shuts down

Source: Reuters - Sun 16th Dec 2012
Spain's oldest nuclear plant shuts down

Spain's oldest nuclear plant Garona is shutting down on Sunday ahead of new taxes included in a government energy reform that would render the plant unviable.

Spain is introducing higher taxes on electricity generation as a measure to address an over €24 billion energy tariff deficit after years of selling power below costs.

The energy reform would add €153 million of taxes on Garona in 2013, its operator Nuclenor said in a statement, adding this would "increase current economic losses to the point of sending Nuclenor into bankruptcy."

The nuclear matter at Garona - which opened in 1970 and produced about 1.4% of annual Spanish electricity output - will be transferred to a storage pool at the plant on Sunday night.

Spain's industry ministry had wanted to keep Garona open to assure a mix of energy options for the country, but Nuclenor said it would need to invest around €120 million in order to keep the plant running, while also facing higher taxes.

Spain relies on imports to cover its energy needs, with nuclear energy providing 20% of domestic electric demand in 2011.

This coincides with news earlier this week that the central government has cut incentives for wind energy production .