The Cofrentes nuclear power plant (Valencia) stops for 35 days to refuel

During these days, 22 million will be invested and 228 of the 624 fuel elements that make up the reactor core will be replaced.

The Cofrentes plant (Valencia), in a file image.

The Cofrentes nuclear power plant (Valencia) will be uncoupled from the national electricity grid at one in the morning this Friday, November 12, to start its twenty-third refueling, in which it will invest more than 22 million euros.

This action aims to be a stimulus for employment and the surrounding economy, by hiring 1,200 professionals from highly qualified companies and the consequent impact in terms of hotel occupancy and dynamism in local restaurants. The workers will join the thousand who normally work at the plant.

During recharging, with an expected duration of 35 days, 228 fuel elements of the 624 that make up the reactor core will be replaced, so that there is enough fresh fuel in the vessel to tackle a new operating cycle, explains the nuclear company.

Periodic safety inspections and associated preventive maintenance will also be carried out, which can only be carried out with the plant stopped, along with 26 design modifications or improvements. All this to guarantee that it continues to operate “with the best security and reliability standards”.

In general, the recharge planning team has scheduled the execution of more than 11,000 jobs to ensure that they are carried out safely and following the stipulated quality criteria. The actual action of the recharge consists of the partial discharge of the core for the change of the 228 elements mentioned and the replacement of 14 control rods and 20 of their actuators.

Other planned activities are substitution of one of the low pressure rotors of the main turbine, which will be complemented by a inspection of the generator and with the revision control valves and shutdown of the turbine, or the renewal of the main generation switch by a state-of-the-art model.

This recharge includes staff training in both specific aspects of nuclear technology and occupational risk prevention. In total, more than 450 specifically designed courses have been carried out, many of them online due to the restrictions applied by the center due to the pandemic.

The nuclear company ensures that the recharge complies with all the protocols required by the health authorities in view of the expected influx of personnel, in addition to preventive measures and an exhaustive information campaign for collaborating companies to minimize the risk to all workers against the coronavirus.