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2017 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

8. Energy Planning, Nuclear Promises and Realities

Authors: Beatriz Muñoz-Delgado, M. d. Mar Rubio-Varas

Published in: The Economic History of Nuclear Energy in Spain

Publisher: Springer International Publishing



This final chapter establishes a balance between the objectives of the Spanish nuclear program, the promises made in the years of atomic optimism, and their results. Nuclear energy arose as an answer for the increasing electricity demand, diversifying the energy mix, and for minimizing the high external dependence on imported oil. After examining the earliest forecast about nuclear power in Spain and the energy planning that justified the atomic option, we turn our attention to analysing the compliance of the objectives in the energy field. Among others we scrutinize the impact of nuclear power on energy issues such as the diversification of the energy matrix, external energy dependency and the security of supply. Our review of historical evidence provides some rebuttals to the principal promises that pushed the Spanish nuclear program since its inception. But it also finds some accomplishments with regard to how nuclear power helped to create a new industry and modernize the country.
ASEPI. President speech before Sevillana de Electricidad General Shareholder meeting, 13 April 1978 (Archivo SEPI, Presidencia, Caja 552).
Jaime MacVeigh, Ensayo sobre un Programa de Energía Nuclear en España. Madrid: Banco Urquijo.
Ibid., 13.
See Chap. 5 in this volume and Appendix 1.
ABC, 11 April 1956, p. 41.
MacVeigh, Ensayo sobre un Programa de Energía Nuclear.
José Cabrera held the presidency of the board of directors of UEM, and was also first president of Tecnatom. He happened to be the authentic and enthusiastic promoter of the construction of the first nuclear power station in Spain, which would end up taking its name. MacVeigh would also sit in Cenusa’s council.
Ministerio de Industria Dirección General de Industria, Estadística de la Industria de Energía Eléctrica, Resumen del Año 1960, 16–17.
Ministerio de Industria, Energía Eléctrica. Estadística 1975 (Madrid: Servicio de Publicaciones, 1977).
Manuel Gutiérrez Cortines, “Las Centrales Atómicas en los Programas de Construcción de las Empresas Eléctricas,” in Conferencia Pronunciada al Círculo de la Unión Mercantil e Industrial de Madrid (Madrid: Círculo de la Unión Mercantil e Industrial de Madrid, 1958), 6.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “Some Economic Implications of Nuclear Power for Under-Developed Countries,” in The Economics of Nuclear Power, Including Administration and Law, ed. J. Gueron et al. (New York: Pergamon Press, 1957), 106–8.
Sam H. Schurr and Jacob Marschak, Economic Aspects of Atomic Power (York, PA: Princeton University Press, 1950), http://​cowles.​yale.​edu/​sites/​default/​files/​files/​pub/​misc/​specpupb-schurr-marschak.​pdf
Manuel de Torres Matínez, Energía Nuclear e Industrialización de España (Madrid: Ateneo, 1954), 13.
Miguel Cuerdo, “Evaluación de los Planes Energéticos Nacionales en España (1975–1998),” Revista de Historia Industrial 15 (1999): 161–77.
Plan Eléctrico Nacional, Orden del Ministerio de Industria de 31 de Julio de 1969, BOE 30/8/1969.
Cuerdo, op.cit. 164.
Joseba De la Torre and M.d. Mar Rubio-Varas, “Nuclear Power for a Dictatorship: State and Business Involvement in the Spanish Atomic Program, 1950–1985”. Journal of Contemporary History 51, no. 2 (2016): 385–411.
Ministerio de Industria y Energía, Plan Energético Nacional 1978–1987, 47.
The first part of this section largely relies on previous work by the authors published in Spanish in Beatriz Muñoz Delgado and M.d. Mar Rubio-Varas, “La Dependencia Energética Exterior de España 1900–2010” in Historia de la Política Exterior Española en los Siglos XX y XXI, ed. J.M. Beneyto and J.C. Pereira (Madrid: CEU, 2015), 423–52.
Energy dependence is defined as the portion of the energy consumed in a country that is supplied by other countries; therefore, we can refer to import dependence, as well.
It has been a recurring theme throughout history, at least in political and economic discourse, to resort to the reduction of energy dependence to improve energy security in countries. However, “security of supply does not seek to maximise energy self-sufficiency or to minimise dependence, but aims to reduce the risks linked to such dependence” (European Commission, Green Paper: Towards a European Strategy for the Security of Energy Supply, Adopted by the European Commission on 29 November 2000 (Brussels: Publications of the European Communities, 2001), 2). This statement rests on the idea that dependence is not in itself harmful or inefficient in economic terms. If there is diversity in the sources of supply (referring to a wide variety of supplying countries as well as diversity in the energy mix) and the economic bill can be assumed, it really does not constitute a problem in terms of supply security.
Ministerio de Industria, Comercio y Turismo. La Energía en España (several years).
See Chap. 5 in this volume.
NARA, Telegram from the U.S. Embassy in Madrid to State Department, National Archives and Records Administration. 23 April 1974. Document Number: 1974MADRID02523.
NARA, Telegram from the U.S. Mission at EC Brussels to AEC. 8 April 1974. Document Number: 1974ECBRU02115.
NARA, Telegram from U.S. State Department to IAEA, 1974 July 15, Document number: 1974STATE152033_b.
NARA, Digitized from Box 42 of The John Marsh Files at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Collection GRF-0067: John O. Marsh Files (Ford Administration), 1974–1977 Series: John Marsh’s General Subject Files, 1974–1977 File Unit: Uranium Enrichment—General.
EXIM, Memorandum to the Board of Directors, Europe and Canada Division, June 28, 1979 Re: Zorita nuclear power reloads—P.C. No. 4510—Spain. Box H119. Folder 3722. Ex-Im Bank Archives.
See Chap. 5 in this volume.
EXIM, Memorandum to the Board of Directors, Europe and Canada Division, June 28, 1979 Re: Zorita nuclear power reloads—P.C. No. 4510—Spain. Box H119. Folder 3722. Ex-Im Bank Archives.
See Muñoz Delgado and Rubio-Varas, “La Dependencia Energética Exterior de España 1900–2010”.
For a more detailed analysis of the geographic dependence of Spanish energy imports, see Muñoz Delgado and Rubio-Varas, “La Dependencia Energética Exterior de España 1900–2010”.
A footnote to the National Energy Plan of 1983 explains that “for the calculation of the degree of energy self-sufficiency, as in previous occasions, it has followed the criterion of the International Energy Agency of considering as national all the nuclear production”. Congreso de los Diputados, Plan Energético Nacional de 1983.
UNESA, Memoria Anual (various years).
UNESA, Memoria Anual 1986.
ASEPI, op.cit.
For a more detailed analysis of the geographic dependence of Spanish energy imports, see Muñoz Delgado and Rubio-Varas, op.cit. For the diversification of the energy mix, M.d. Mar Rubio-Varas and Beatriz Muñoz Delgado, “200 Years Diversifying the Energy Mix? Diversification Paths of the Energy Baskets of European Early Comers vs. Latecomers,” Economic History Working Papers Series, 2017.
The paternity of this index is shared by the economists Orris C. Herfindahl and Albert O. Hirschman. In 1945, Hirschman (in Albert O. Hirschman, National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade—Albert O. Hirschman—Google Books (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1945)) proposed an index of trade concentration consisting of the square root of the sum of the squares of the market share of each country in the market. For his part, in 1950, Herfindahl (in his doctoral dissertation later published as Orris Clemens Herfindahl, Concentration in the Steel Industry—Orris Clemens Herfindahl—Google Books (Columbia University Press, 1950)) proposed an index for measuring the firms’ concentration in the steel industry, which was computed the same as the Hirschman index, but without the square root i.e. the sum of squares of firm sizes, all measured as percentages of total industry size. In Hirschman (1964) he claimed the authorship of the index.
The literature on the restriction that energy poses to Spanish economic development is abundant: Carles Sudrià, Jordi Nadal, and Albert Carreras, “Un Factor Determinante: La Energía” (Barcelona: Ariel, 1987); Carles Sudrià, “Energy as a Limiting Factor to Growth,” ed. Pablo Martín Aceña and James Simpson (Aldershot: Edward Elgar, 1995); Carles Sudrià, “La Restricción Energética al Desarrollo Económico de España,” Papeles de Economía 73 (1997): 165–94; Carles Sudrià, “Un Bosquejo Histórico de la Energía en la Industrialización de España,” in Energía: Del Monopolio al Mercado. CNE, Diez Años en Perspectiva, ed. José Luis García Delgado (Cordovilla: Aranzadi, 2006); Nadal J. (dir.), “Atlas de la Industrialización de España, 1750–2000,” 2003.
As stated by Gabriel Tortella Casares, The Development of Modern Spain: An Economic History of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Harvard University Press, 2000), 347, “if the energy sector was an obstacle to industrial growth, it was the energy policy that was problematic, not the resource endowment itself”.
Almaraz-1, Almaraz-2, Ascó-1, Cofrentes, José Cabrera, Santa María de Garoña and Vandellós-1 (see Appendix A).
Joseba de la Torre and M.d. Mar Rubio-Varas, “Learning by Doing: The First Spanish Nuclear Plant,” Busines History Review, n.d.
Manuel López Rodríguez, “La Situación Española de la Energía Nuclear,” Energía Nuclear 139 (1982): 334.
Energy Planning, Nuclear Promises and Realities
Beatriz Muñoz-Delgado
M. d. Mar Rubio-Varas
Copyright Year

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