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Spain' s oldest nuclear power plant shut down

Madrid, 1st May 2006

Greenpeace celebrates victory as Spain' s oldest nuclear power plant is shut down

Environmental groups called on Spanish government to phase out nuclear power

-Greenpeace is celebrating the permanent shutdown of Spain's oldest nuclear power station, which was finally closed yesterday following years of intense campaigning by environmental and social groups highlighting serious safety concerns at the plant.

Campaigners celebrated the final closure of the Cabrera Nuclear Power station at Zorita after 38 years of controversial operation. Greenpeace and social groups have long claimed that the plant was extremely dangerous and had been campaigning hard for its closure, including a high profile occupation of the reactor's dome by activists in April 2002.

"It is a great victory for public health and the environment," said Juan López de Uralde, Executive Director of Greenpeace Spain. The Cabrera plant should have been closed many years ago. The closing of the plant categorically demonstrates that Zorita's operation was very dangerous because of numerous technical problems and the absence of a security culture."

Since 1981 security and design weaknesses of the plant have led to successful attempts at improvements. However the accumulation of security problems have made it evident that strict conditions for total security guarantees-under which it was required to operate-were impossible.

Today Greenpeace demanded that the government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero fulfil its promise to phase out nuclear energy in Spain, beginning with Santa Maria de Garoña in Burgos, one of Spain's first generation plants. This power station also has serious problems of cracking caused by corrosion of the reactor vessel.

The Jose Cabrera plant is not the first power station to be shut down in Spain and raises security and safety concerns for all other nuclear facilities. The Vandellos plant was also closed because of security problems in 1990 following a fire at the plant in 1989.

"Spain has the potential to generate all of its current electricity demand fifty-six times over using renewable energy. It is incredible that the Government is still considering including nuclear in our power future," said Carlos Bravo, Nuclear Energy campaigner for Greenpeace. "Nuclear energy is not the solution to either climate change, increasing energy demand or energy security. It creates serious environmental, health and security problems. What's more, management of radioactive waste is an environmental and social time bomb, a global problem which to this day still has no solution," concluded Bravo.

ENDS

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