According to Spain’s Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian, switching the plant off in four years would not be a problem for Spain’s energy security.

We currently have an excess of installed capacity in our grid, Sebastian said. He also said that if that excess capacity were to revert by 2013 due to increasing demand, the nation would have sufficient time to meet the increased demand by developing more renewable energy-generating capacity.

The life span of Garona plant had originally been expected to 40 years, which would end in July 2011, but the CSN has argued that certain security measures are met, if life span of the plant could safely be extended beyond that date.

Government of Spain said it plans to phase out nuclear power as the life span of present nuclear power stations end. But in recent weeks, the government has been ambiguous as to how a plant’s life span is defined.

In 2008, Garona plant has only accounted for 1.4% of Spain’s power supply. The decision of extending its operating permit would set a precedent for future government decisions on four nuclear power plants in 2010 and 2011. And these plants are also operated by Iberdrola and Endesa, and by Gas Natural SDG SA’s Union Fenosa SA.