An Alternative Route? France’s Position in the Spanish Nuclear Program, c. 1950s–1980s

  • Esther M. Sánchez-Sánchez
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)


This chapter deals with the extent of French assistance to the Spanish nuclear development between the 1950s and the 1980s, based mainly on archival material from France and Spain. After a brief assessment of the French nuclear program, we examine the origins of French-Spanish cooperation in the electricity and nuclear sectors, identifying the key individuals, businesses and institutions. Afterwards, special attention is given to the largest ever French nuclear operation in Spain: the Vandellós 1 power plant, located in the coast of Catalonia. Finally, the text reviews the evolution of bilateral nuclear relations during the years when Spanish moratorium was brewing, and both the United States and West Germany had become strong competitors in the Iberian market. Nuclear collaboration with France was important for Spain both as an end and as a means, since it widely boosted the modernization of local industries and workforce, and also paved the way for other large industrial and political projects.

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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esther M. Sánchez-Sánchez
    • 1
  1. 1.Dpto. Economía e Historia EconómicaUniversidad de SalamancaSalamancaSpain

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