How did Spain Become the Major US Nuclear Client?
How could the electric utilities of an underdeveloped country such as Spain afford the $500 millions or more required for a single nuclear plant? The Spanish government pursued nuclear development doggedly in order to achieve status on the international scenario and push the technological prowess for industrialization. But it could not do it alone. All the Spanish nuclear orders from the US came with an Eximbamk’s financial package offering below market interest rates and facilities to obtain credits from private banks. The dimension of the Spanish nuclear project, which exceeded the relative economic and political clout of the country at the time, responds to the combination of domestic and foreign interests in the economic, political, and security fields. By the mid 1970s, Spain became the largest nuclear client of the US, by at the same time turning into the largest Eximbank nuclear debtor. The financial facilities included, among other things, long maturities for the loans. Eventually, the electricity companies had to reimburse the credits in instalments that become increasingly burdensome from the early 1980s onwards, which contributed to the decision to declare the nuclear moratorium.