Minister to chair sector meeting later this month

Italy shut down the last of the plants, Caorso (pictured) and Enrico Fermi, in 1990 following a referendum in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster. Courtesy Sogin.

The Italian government has reaffirmed its commitment to reviving the Italian nuclear energy sector, with several ministers unveiling plans to reintroduce nuclear power generation within the next decade.

Speaking at the European House-Ambrosetti economic forum on Sunday, transport minister and deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini expressed confidence in the government’s ability to begin nuclear energy production within the next 10 years.

Argus Media reported that environment minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin said he will preside over the inaugural meeting of the National Platform for Sustainable Nuclear on September 21.

This platform aims to coordinate efforts among companies and institutions involved in various areas of the nuclear industry, including safety, radioprotection, and waste management.

Pichetto said the government’s emphasis is on research, experimentation, and “leveraging Italy's extensive nuclear sector expertise, rather than constructing new nuclear plants”.

He said small modular reactors could be a viable option for Italy’s energy landscape in the next decade.

Earlier this year the Italian parliament backed the government’s plan to include nuclear in the country’s energy mix as part of its decarbonisation efforts after the country abandoned its nuclear programme nearly four decades ago.

Since she took office late last year, prime minister Meloni has openly supported the reactivation of the country’s long-shuttered nuclear power plants.

Italy was a pioneer of nuclear power and had four commercial nuclear plants – Caorso, Enrico Fermi, Garigliano and Latina – providing almost 5% of the country’s electricity production share at their peak in 1986-1987.

Italy shut down the last of the plants, Caorso and Enrico Fermi, in July 1990 following a referendum in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

In January the Italian Nuclear Association said Italy needs to develop a national energy policy that includes restarting its nuclear power programme as it seeks to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and imports from Russia.

In 2021, opinion polls in Italy suggested support was growing for the deployment of advanced nuclear technologies including SMRs.

Date: Thursday, 07 September 2023
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