The 42-year-old Santa Maria de Garoña nuclear power plant in the north-central province of Burgos, one of the eight nuclear reactors operating in Spain, has been shut down.

The power plant, which was closed Saturday under an order issued by the Industry and Energy Ministry, continues to be the target of criticism from the opposition and non-governmental organizations, such as Greenpeace.

The nuclear energy facility was closed down for economic and not safety reasons, and the government has not ruled out reactivating the power plant "if it is possible," Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said on Friday.

The government does not plan to change the regulations covering the nuclear power industry, Saenz de Santamaria said.

The shutdown was undertaken "even though there are no nuclear safety or radiological protection reasons that require it," and because the company that owns the facility cited economic reasons "for not requesting the renewal of the operating license," the Industry and Energy Ministry order said.

Nuclenor, which is owned by Endesa and Iberdrola, operates the power plant and is resonsible for storing the uranium fuel used at the plant.

The Spanish Socialist Workers Party, or PSOE, the country's largest opposition party, criticized the conservative Popular Party, or PP, government for holding out the possibility of reopening the plant.

Greenpeace, for its part, said the possibility of modifying regulations to reopen the Santa Maria de Garoña plant "is criminal." EFE