Spain’s business lobby calls for extension of nuclear power

MADRID (Reuters) – One of Spain’s top business lobby groups called for extending the use of the country’s nuclear plants on Friday, that the government led by acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez plans to start closing down from 2027.

The fate of Spain’s nuclear fleet became a hot issue during the recent electoral campaign, with the conservative opposition People’s Party (PP) pledging to reverse the planned phase-out of the nuclear plants, which generate about a fifth of the country’s electricity.

A coalition deal between centre-left parties seeking to form a government confirmed “the orderly and progressive dismantling” of nuclear reactors.

“Ideological positions should not prevent us from recognising the need to extend the useful life of power plants already installed, which guarantee the stability of the system,” said Manuel Perez-Sala, chairman of business lobby Circulo de Empresarios, which says its members include 230 business leaders and top managers.

Keeping nuclear plants running requires multi-billion euros investments in aging plants, but offers the assurance of stable power, he said at an energy transition event the group held in Madrid.

Acting Energy Minister Teresa Ribera, who supports an energy model based on renewable energy such as solar and wind, has defended the nuclear phase-out numerous times.

Extending the life of nuclear plants “is not viable and its cost would necessarily fall on citizens, because it is necessary to guarantee investments in safety,” she said during the electoral campaign.

The lobby group also stressed the importance of legal certainty and “a regulatory framework without ups and downs, particularly of a retroactive nature.”

(Reporting by Pietro Lombardi, editing by Inti Landauro and Elaine Hardcastle)