Cookie Policy

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Photograph of the Santa María de Garoña Nuclear Power Plant

Dismantling of the Santa María de Garoña Nuclear Power Plant

Santa María de Garoña Nuclear Power Plant (Burgos) was the second nuclear power plant to start up operations in Spain, following the start-up a few years earlier of José Cabrera Nuclear Power Plant (Guadalajara). It remained operational from 1971 to 2013, with electricity power of 466 MW. It belongs to the company Nuclenor (Centrales Nucleares del Norte, S.A.), an entity established by the electricity companies Iberdrola and Endesa.

Timeline of activities

  • 2011

    December 2011

    On 23 December 2011, Enresa submitted the “Preliminary timeline of actions to be performed for the decommissioning of Santa Mª de Garoña NPP” to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism (MITYC).

  • 2018

    July 2018

    Enresa submitted the “Basic Strategy Study for the decommissioning of Santa Mª de Garoña NPP”.

  • 2019

    The preliminary activities for the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant commenced, with Nuclenor collaborating with Enresa for their implementation.

  • 2020

    21 May 2020. Enresa submitted the documentation to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO) and to the Nuclear Safety Council seeking authorisation for the transfer of ownership and the initial phase of decommissioning.

  • 2023

    Positive assessment buy the Nuclear Safety Council.

    Approval from MITECO.

    Transfer of ownership.

Preliminary activities

The activities leading up to the transfer of plant ownership to Enresa took place from 2019 to 2023.

This work primarily involved consisted mainly systems discharge, the systems and facilities the modification, along with the physical and radiological inventory of the power plant. Additionally all the required licensing documentation for the project was submitted during this period to.

Dismantling and decommissioning Plan

Santa Mª de Garoña Nuclear Power Plant is located in the municipality of Valle de Tobalina, in the province of Burgos, close to the Ebro River. Its construction began in 1966 and, on 2 March 1971, it connected to the Spanish electricity grid for the first time. The plant had a 466 MW installed capacity, with a BWR 3-type boiling water reactor using American General Electric technology, making it the first nuclear power plant in Spain with this type of reactor.

The estimated duration of the decommissioning process is approximately 10 years. The decommissioning strategy selected for the power plant is an immediate decommissioning strategy in two phases.

During Phase 1 (2023-2026), the systems, structures, and components within the Turbine Building will be disassembled and refurbished to create the new Auxiliary Decommissioning Building (EAD), concurrently, spent fuel will be transferred from the pool to the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations (ISFSI) facility located in the eastern side of the plant.

Subsequently, in Phase 2 (2026-2033), with the fuel removed out from the Reactor Building, the final decommissioning of the radiological buildings will be addressed, continuing with the decontamination, declassification and demolition, ultimately concluding with the site´s restauration.

These two phases will occur sequentially in terms of time and will require separate administrative authorisations.

Main project details

Start of the project: July 2023

Phase 1: approximate duration of 3 years*.

Main activities: the management of spent fuel, decontamination of the main radiological circuits and dismantling of the main components of the Turbine Building which will be purposed for waste conditioning.

Phase 2: approximate duration of 7 years*.

Main activities: disassembly of the main components such as the vessel and the internal components of the reactor. This phase will also include the demolition of building upon the removal of any radiological contamination and, ultimately, the site´s restauration.

*The duration of each phase is estimated.


475 million euros.


200-300 workers. With a peak workface over 300 employees at the outset of phase 2, which will decline during the site restoration phase.

Management of materials: (Phase 1)

5,718 total tonnes of materials to be managed in Phase 1. This quantity consists of:

4,027 tonnes of radioactive waste:

  • 244 t LILW (to be dispatched to El Cabril Disposal Centre)
  • 1,721 t VLLW (to be dispatched to El Cabril Disposal Centre)
  • 2,062 t of declassifiable material (potentially for recycling)

1,691 tonnes of conventionalwaste from construction and demolition (of which, approximately 586 tonnes will be recycled).

In addition, during this phase, 49 casks of spent fuel will be loaded and managed at the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations (ISFSI) located at the plant.


The transportation of very low, low and intermediate radioactive waste will take place by road using certified vehicles and encasements in compliance with regulations. There is a track record of over 4 million kilometres of safe transport with no radiological incidents to date.

Garoña, a dismantling and decommissioning in two phases

Original video
Video with subtitles