Spain’s oldest nuclear power plant may avoid closure next year following a decision by the country’s new government.

Industrial Info reports that the decision overturns one taken by the previous, anti-nuclear government to close the Garona nuclear power plant in northern Spain by 2013.

The new government has now requested the country’s Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) to investigate the possibility that the plant can continue operating.

Garona started life in 1971 and provides approximately 1.4% of the country’s electricity. Nuclear power still accounts for around 20% of Spain’s total electricity.

Back in 2009, the Garona plant, which has a generating capacity of 466 MW, looked likely to win a 10-year extension to its operational status following positive recommendations from the Nuclear Safety Council. However, since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan last March, additional ‘stress tests’ are now mandatory across the European Union.

“The People’s Party doesn’t want to underutilize any sources of energy, especially nuclear because there are eight nuclear reactors, which according to the CSN could still continue providing energy for a determined amount of time,” explained José Manuel Soria, the new head of Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism in a recent interview.

For more nuclear power news