Italy approves nuclear decree

11 February 2010

Italy’s plans to return to nuclear power have taken another step forward. On 10 February, the Italian government approved a decree laying out the criteria for site selection and the permitting process.

According to the plans, Italy will begin initial construction work in 2013 with the aim of electricity production by 2020. Enel and EDF have both expressed interest in building ‘at least’ four EPRs in the country.

Claudio Scajola the Minister for Economic Development said the decree would allow the government to launch its return to nuclear. The decree outlines procedures for site selection, decommissioning and says there will be financial incentives for communities agreeing to host new nuclear power plants.

Scajola stressed that the government would engage in extensive consultations with local populations during the site selection process. There would be increased transparency throughout the whole process of construction, operation and decommissioning of new facilities, he said.

There will be “recognized economic benefits” for communities that agree to host new reactors, according to the decree. These incentives will be funded by the companies that build and operate the new reactors.

The plans also include provision for creation of a fund for a national technology park, which will act as a research centre for the treatment of nuclear waste.

The Italian government has also said that it will challenge the regional laws that oppose construction of nuclear facilities in Italy’s constitutional court. The regions in question are Puglia, Campania and Basilicata.

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