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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 .

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