Spanish region introduces new nuclear tax
OREANDA-NEWS. The Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia has introduced a new, more modest tax on the three nuclear plants operating in its territory. The change comes just weeks after Spain's constitutional court blocked a planned tax that Catalonia had hoped would raise revenue of €48mn/yr ($54mn/yr).
The new "public safety tax" is based on each nuclear plant's nameplate capacity, at rate of €44.14/MW/yr. The 996MW and 992MW Asco 1 and 2, and 1.045GW Vandellos 2 reactors in Catalonia can expect to pay around an additional €47,000 in regional taxes this year.
Catalonia originally planned to charge nuclear plant operators €800,000/t of fuel consumed by their reactors. But Spain's constitutional court ruled last month that this was essentially double taxing the use of nuclear fuel and blocked to plan — Madrid charges plant operators according to spent fuel and other radioactive waste from nuclear generation.
Spain introduced its nationwide tax on nuclear waste at the end of 2012, alongside a general tax on power generation, as part of electricity sector reform aiming to reduce the near €30bn shortfall in regulated revenue, compared with the regulated costs of the power system — known as the tariff deficit.
The tax on nuclear waste production was set at €2,190/kg/yr of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel, €6,000/m? for other intermediate and high-level waste, and €1,000/m? of waste with low radioactivity.
And the government introduced a €70/kg tax on the storage of spent fuel and other radioactive residues of of heavy metals contained in the spent fuel, €30,000/m? on high and intermediate waste with a long half-life, and €10,000/m? for intermediate and low-level waste with a normal half-life.
Catalonia's three operational reactors account for about 40pc Spain's installed nuclear capacity. The country has seven working units. The concentration of nuclear capacity in Catalonia and public opposition to nuclear power frequently causes friction between Barcelona and Madrid.
Only two of the three nuclear reactors in Catalonia are on line — Asco II was shut down for refuelling on 30 April and should return to the grid on 7 June.