The waste produced by the Group’s activities is transferred to sites authorized according to the type of material, and increasingly sent for recovery. Recovery mainly applies to materials that can be reused in construction (such as gypsum and combustion ash), regenerated (like oils and batteries), or recycled (like some types of metals). The Group’s policies are aimed at continuously increasing the percentage of waste sent for recovery, whether hazardous or non-hazardous.
In 2017, the Enel Group produced a total of 9 million and 383 thousand tons of waste, of which 99% classified as non-hazardous. The quantity produced increased compared to 2016 by 3%. The increase in waste production is mainly due to thermal generation, in particular coal generation.
Specifically, there was a slight increase in the production of ash and a greater increase in that of gypsum, derived from the desulfurization treatment of combustion gases; the latter had an increase of 7% compared to the previous year, rising from 1.3 Mt in 2016 to 1.4 Mt in 2017, in line with the environmental measures currently under way (particularly in Spain).
The waste sent for recovery across Enel accounted for 22.5% of the total waste produced.
Rifiuti prodotti (.000 t)
As part of its activities in the nuclear field, Enel is committed to minimizing the production of waste deriving from daily activities, as well as future waste deriving from the decommissioning of plants. Changes in the quantities of radioactive waste produced depends on maintenance and fuel handling operations and, therefore, is subject to considerable fluctuations over the years. This has a particular impact on the specific production of high-activity solid radioactive waste in nuclear power plants.
Compared to the data recorded in 2015, Enel has committed to achieving a waste production target of 20% by 2020. The target was set in light of the results achieved and the timetable laid down by the Business Plan for the next three years, which will see an evolution of the mix towards renewable energies and a reduction in generation from fossil fuels through a change in the perimeter of the production fleet.
The total quantity of the most significant spills in 2017 was about 90 m3. The greatest contribution came from the area of energy distribution.
Except for rare spill events from largescale transformers, environmental accidents are mostly small spills where rapid containment and subsequent environmental restoration activities are carried out by a specialized company, according to the procedures imposed by local regulations. To further mitigate the risk related to possession of substances with environmental impacts, several experiments are underway that envisage the use of vegetable oil – which is biodegradable – instead of the traditional insulating mineral oil.