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Monitoring the Trillo water temperature cooling pool

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(November 13, 1998) The Spanish environmental organization Aedenat warns that CSN (Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear - Spanish Nuclear Safety Council) has been too permissive for the operators of the Trillo nuclear power plant in the province of Gualdalajara east of Madrid. Consequently this raises the risks for workers of the plant, for the inhabitants and the environment.

(502.4957) WISE Amsterdam - According to the documents emitted by the CSN, the enlargement of the cooling pool for used fuel has been carried out with a series of irregularities. The calculations were too simple; the possibilities of accidents were not taken into account. Now the emergency system shows deficiencies. In case this system fails there is no guarantee that the water will not start to boil, with all kinds of possible consequences. Because of this danger a constant control of the water temperature is necessary. But at Trillo it only happens when loading the pool. In spite of these serious uncertainties, the CSN authorized the enlargement of the cooling pool.

Trillo is the most recently built nuclear power plant in Spain. The cooling pool had to be extended in order to accomodate more used fuel rods. Because the enlarged pool will be full at the end of 2002, Trillo has asked ENRESA (Empresa Nacional de Residuos Radioactivos - National Agency for Radioactive Waste) for an authorization for a nuclear disposal for all the HLW from Spanish nuclear power plants. But a decision about such a disposal facility is not foreseen in the near future.

Source: Communicado Aedenat, 3 November 1998
Contact: Aedenat (Ecologistas En Accion)
Marques de Leganes 12
28004 Madrid, Spain.
Tel: +34-91-5312738; Fax: +34-91-5312611
WWW: www.


Higher burn-up fuel problems at Almarez

Aedenat publicized the negative effects of an 18 month fuel cycle instead of the regular 12 month cycle in the core of the Almarez reactor in Caceres - southwest of Madrid. This higher burn-up causes problems especially for the measuring-instruments of the control-rods, which appear to be ineffective in monitoring their exact position. Higher burn-up fuel is subject to greater mechanical and thermic tensions, which results in deformations in the elements of the core.

These deformations now make it necessary to replace the current instruments. These instruments precisely measure the position of the control-rods. The position of the control-rods determines in a large part the speed of the nuclear reaction, and in consequence the power produced by the reactor. So knowledge of the exact position of the control-rods is vital for the safety of the reactor. The necessity of changing these parts is clear, notwithstanding the economic costs and the radioactive doses that the workers will be exposed to in doing this.

According to Aedenat these new incidents are in addition to the innumerable problems provoked by Almarez and it justifies its final shutdown.
Source: Communications with Aedenat, 3 November 1998