Italy's Societa Gestione Impianti Nucleari SpA (Sogin) on 15 March submitted to the Ministry of Ecological Transition (MET) its proposal for the National Charter of Eligible Areas (CNAI) to host a national repository for radioactive waste and a technological park. This followed a year of public consultation. MET, having acquired the technical opinion of the National Inspectorate for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ISIN), must now approve the Charter with its own decree, in agreement with the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility. The map will then be published on the websites of Sogin, the two Ministries and ISIN.
Publication of the CNAI will launch another consultation phase aimed at collecting non-binding expressions of interest, to continue the participatory process by the regions and local authorities in whose territories the suitable areas fall, with the aim of reaching a shared decision on the best site for the repository. The CNAI was developed by Sogin following the largest ever public consultation in Italy on a strategic infrastructure issue. It beganin January 2021 with publication of the proposed National Charter of Potentially Eligible Areas (CNAPI) and in January 2022.
During the first six months to July 2021, Sogin collected over 300 observations and technical proposals received on the CNAPI and on the repository project, from the interested parties. This was followed by a National Seminar, held from 7 September to 24 November, which concluded on 15 December 2021 with the publication of the final Acts. The seminar comprised nine meetings, all live-streamed. In addition to the opening and closing plenary sessions, seven working sessions were held, one national and six territorial for the regions in the CNAPI, where 67 potential host locations for the repository had been identified in Piedmont, Tuscany, Lazio, Puglia and Basilicata, Sicily, Sardinia.
Following the Seminar, a second phase of public consultation was held over 30 days during which the stakeholders were able to submit further observations and technical proposals. The CNAI proposal that Sogin sent to the Ministry of Ecological Transition was therefore prepared based on more than 600 questions, observations and proposals. It comprised more than 25,000 pages consisting of deeds, documents, studies, technical reports and maps.
The planned surface-level waste store and technology park will be built in an area of about 150 hectares, of which 110 are dedicated to the repository and 40 to the park. The store will have the capacity to hold about 78,000 cubic metres of very low and low-level radioactive waste, as well as about 17,000 cubic metres of intermediate and high-level waste, pending the availability of a deep geological repository suitable for its disposal. The technology park will be a research centre, open to international cooperation, where activities in the energy, waste management and sustainable development fields can be carried out. Italy's radioactive waste is currently stored in about 20 temporary sites, which are not suitable for final disposal. It comprises waste generated through the operation and decommissioning of its fuel cycle facilities and NPPs as well as radioactive wastes from medical, industrial and research activities.