Italy overturns nuclear ban

10 July 2009

The Italian Parliament has overturned a ban on civil nuclear power that dates back to 1987, a year after Chernobyl.

The law gives the government six months to prepare rules for a revival of the nuclear sector, Reuters reports. Italy currently has no operating nuclear power stations. There were three operating power reactors in 1987, according to NEI's 1988 World Nuclear Industry Handbook: an 882MWe gross BWR at Caorso, near Bologna, a 270MWe gross PWR at Trino Vercellese north of Turin and a 160MWe magnox unit at Latina, near Rome. At the time, construction of a two-unit BWR station (each 1009MWe) at Montalto di Castro, north of Rome, was nearing completion.

In a statement, Enel CEO Fulvio Conti said:

With today's Senate vote, Italy completes an historic decision and returns to nuclear. In the past few years, Enel has rebuilt from outside the culture and experience neccessary to deal with the challenge that Parliament has given us. We are therefore ready to do our part. The return of nuclear in Italy is a strategic opportunity for rebuilding the scientific, technological and industrial chain that is indispensible for stabilizing the costs of electrical energy generation, reducing the dependence of raw material imports and fighting climate change.

European nuclear association Foratom welcomed the move. The fleet of new nuclear power plants will help Italy ensure a more secure and reliable energy supply while diversifying its generation portfolio's (today oil and gas cover more than 50% of the Italian power production, making Italy dependent on imports), and make it better equipped to meet its climate change obligations thanks to nuclear energy’s non-CO2 emitting profile.

Commenting on the adoption of Italy’s new nuclear law, the Director General of FORATOM (the association representing the European nuclear industry), Santiago San Antonio, said: “This historic decision shows that the nuclear revival across Europe continues to gather momentum and that more and more countries now recognise that the arguments in favour of nuclear energy are irresistible. It will inspire other countries that are considering a similar political path to press ahead.”

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Enel's statement in Italian

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