NUCLEAR PLANT SHUT DOWN

The Vandellos II nuclear plant in Tarragona was shut down and the Tarragona Nuclear Emergency Plan was activated after a fire broke out around 9 am last Sunday morning. The fire, which appeared to have been caused by an electrical problem, was brought under control by 10.30 am although the emergency plan was maintained. There have been two similar incidents this year so far at the plant, which was closed down for four months last year because of a serious problem with the cooling system. At that time, the chairman of the National Security Council (CSN), Carmen Martinez Ten, asked the directors of the Endesa electricity company for explanations as to why the Catalan nuclear park registered three times more incidents than the average for nuclear plants elsewhere in Spain. Last week, the CSN decided to fine the Ascó nuclear plant, also in Tarragon, for four incidents that happened there last November, which included the detection of radioactive particles outside the plant. The fine has yet to be agreed on, but it is expected to be between €9 to €22.5, the highest ever levied against a nuclear plant.

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