The Nuclear Business and the Spanish Electric-Banking Oligopoly: The First Steps
Political and economic factors, both national and international, played a major role in implementing the Spanish nuclear program. Among the elements that the literature of the subject has explained in detail, one can find the US policy for the marketing of nuclear reactors, the financial facilities by the Export–Import Bank and the wishes of the Franco regime to break the international isolation and economic backwardness of Spain. However, in the end the electricity companies built the nuclear power plants privately. Therefore, understanding the Spanish nuclear business requires disentangling the companies and entrepreneurs involved and their logic of action within the Spanish industrial fabric from the 1950s through the 1960s, which is the aim of this chapter. The high fixed capital required by utility companies, coupled with the limitations of the Spanish financial system, demanded the participation of banks, which monitored their investments from their own executive teams. Nuclear investment elevated the long-existing symbiotic relationship between electric utilities and banks to a new level, strengthening the electric-banking oligopoly.