Italian nuclear officials say a document calling for the need to "reconsider" the use of nuclear power in Italy has been approved by parliament.
The Italian industry minister, Antonio Marzano, is currently finalising new draft energy legislation, which is expected to stress the need for Italy to reconsider its non-nuclear policy. Later this month Marzano is due to present an energy reform package, which is believed to call for the adoption of a new Italian energy policy that includes a "fundamental role" for both nuclear power and "clean coal" technologies.
However, a spokesman for the minister pointed out that the government was not yet ready to make any move to overturn the 1987 referendum, which banned nuclear power in the country.
The country's leading financial newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore, reported that the legislation would encourage Italian nuclear companies both to dedicate substantially more resources to nuclear research and to become more actively involved in nuclear operations abroad - particularly in countries such as Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic.
The latest development comes less than a year after Rocco Buttiglione, Italy's community policies minister in the newly-installed government of Silvio Berlusconi, was quoted in La Stampa as saying that "re-examining our policy on nuclear power cannot be ruled out" if alternative sources of energy cannot not found.