Following our meeting in Malta on 3 February and the amicable settlement of 21 February 2017, on the initiative of President Juncker, we have reached agreement on the Almaraz case. Our agreement relies solidly on a set of joint operational conclusions. These conclusions lay down the path for the implementation of the agreement and offer strong guarantees for all parties.
Thanks to the continued assistance and mediation by the European Commission in this process we have reached an agreement to the benefit of all of us. We commit to implement it faithfully.
In the spirit of good neighbourly relations all parties worked together constructively with the willingness to find pragmatic solutions. This is the European spirit of finding compromises for the smooth functioning of our common Union at its best.
We will make good on our shared endeavour to accelerate the work of the High-Level Group on Interconnections for the South West of Europe and we reiterate our strong will to further develop European interconnection projects linking our energy markets.
Background: The steps taken
Following a visit by the Portuguese authorities and senior representatives of the European Commission to the Almaraz site on 27 February 2017, the Spanish authorities shared a substantial amount of detailed information on the environmental and safety aspects of the project for a temporary spent fuel storage facility. The amount and the quality of the information allowed for the comprehensive evaluation of potential trans-boundary effects of the Almaraz temporary spent fuel storage facility.
On this basis, the Portuguese authorities organised a public consultation enabling the Portuguese public to access information on the project in the same way as the Spanish public.
The analysis by the Portuguese authorities resulted in a number of conclusions and recommendations in order to safeguard the concerns of Portugal regarding the potential transboundary effects of the temporary spent fuel storage facility in their territory. These recommendations were presented to the Spanish authorities and the European Commission services, which agreed with the issues raised.
On view of the Portuguese report, the Spanish independent nuclear safety authority – the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) – informed that the measures the CSN will require from the operator will fully deal with the recommendations made.
In a reinforced spirit of cooperation, the parties have also agreed to continue exchanging information on the Almaraz temporary spent fuel storage facility. To this end, the Spanish authorities invited the Portuguese authorities to nominate representatives who will attend the annual information meeting organised in the Almaraz municipality informing the public on questions related to the operation of the Almaraz nuclear power plant. This invitation was accepted by the Portuguese authorities.
In addition, the Spanish authorities agreed to share with the Portuguese authorities any other relevant information about the temporary spent fuel storage facility to ensure access to information by both the Spanish and the Portuguese public.