Lemóniz Nuclear Power Plant
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|Lemóniz Nuclear Power Plant|
|Units under const.||2 x 900 MWe (stopped)|
Lemóniz Nuclear Power Plant is an unfinished nuclear power plant in Lemóniz, in the Basque province of Bizkaia, Spain. Its construction stopped in 1983 when the Spanish nuclear power expansion program was cancelled following a change of government. Its two PWRs, each of 900 MWe, were almost complete but were never operated.
Conflict concerning the Lemóniz Nuclear Power Plant was one of the major anti-nuclear issues in the 1970s and 1980s in Spain. It faced major opposition of the Basque anti-nuclear movement and also of the armed Basque organization ETA.
The building of the power station was opposed by ETA, a Basque separatist organisation proscribed as a terrorist group by the Spanish government. The first attack on the site took place on 18 December 1977, when an ETA commando unit attacked a Guardia Civil post guarding the station. One of the cell members, David Álverez Peña, was injured in the attack and died a month later. On 17 March 1978, ETA planted a bomb in the reactor of the station, causing the death of two workers (Andrés Guerra and Alberto Negro), and wounded another two. The explosion also caused substantial material damage to the facility, which set back construction.
On 3 June 1979, the anti-nuclear activist Gladys del Estal from Donostia died after being hit by a bullet from the police force Guardia Civil during a demonstration in Tudela (Navarra) on the international day of action against nuclear power. Ten days later, on 13 June, ETA managed to get another bomb into the works on the facility, this time in the turbine area. The explosion caused the death of another worker, Ángel Baños. Meanwhile, numerous demonstrations, activities and festivals attended by thousands were being held across the southern Basque Country by ecologists and left leaning groups to demand the closure of the station.
The escalation of ETA's actions came to a head on 29 January 1981, when they kidnapped the chief engineer of the power station, José María Ryan, from Bilbao. They threatened to kill the kidnapped engineer unless the facility was demolished within a week. Although a large demonstration was held in Bilbao for the release of the engineer, ETA killed Ryan after a week passed, causing an outcry and the first anti-ETA strike.
In May 1982 ETA assassinated Ángel Pascual, who had taken over the responsibilities of Ryan as chief project engineer. At this point a de facto stoppage of works at the site followed, and the power company Iberduero, owner of the facilities, officially stopped the works while waiting for the Basque Government to explicitly support continuing the development. Following the Spanish general election of a PSOE government, in 1984 a moratorium on new nuclear power plants was put in place for the whole country, affecting Lemóniz as well, which at that point was virtually ready to run. The moratorium put an official end to the project.
- Lutz Mez, Mycle Schneider and Steve Thomas (Eds.) (2009). International Perspectives of Energy Policy and the Role of Nuclear Power, Multi-Science Publishing Co. Ltd, p. 371.
- Listed terrorist entities
- Terrorist designation of ETA, Dept. of State
- Unzueta, Patxo (1982-05-06). "Angel Pascual Mújica fue ametrallado por dos jóvenes en presencia de la escolta y de su hijo, de 18 años" [Angel Pascual Mújica was assassinated by two youths in the presence of his escort and his son, aged 18]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-04-11.
- Nuclear Power in Spain, World Nuclear Association
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