The new guidelines for the localization of nuclear power plants in Italy were issued while the country's energy leaders attended a Paris meeting on nuclear power.
The latest legislative move to enable new nuclear development came with the publication of the siting guidelines yesterday afternoon on the Gazzetta Ufficiale, the official Italian Journal of Law.
During the International Conference on Access to Civil Nuclear Energy hosted in Paris this week the Italian minister for economic development, Claudio Scajola, anticipated the publication of the law and pointed out a strengthening of the collaboration between France and Italy.
"On 9 April, here in Paris, there will be a meeting between President Silvio Berlusconi and President Nicolas Sarkozy, in which several agreements will be reached, among which there will be two involving nuclear energy: one regarding Sogin [the Italian decommissioning agency] and its French counterparts [at various organizations] about collaboration in waste management, and another one between universities of both countries on the training of technicians and engineers."
Scajola rejected any allegations of delays on issuing the legislation required to make real the Italian nuclear renaissance: "The Italian Government is respecting the deadlines. This afternoon [8 March] the law with the criteria for the localization of the sites will be published on the Gazzetta Ufficiale and in the coming weeks the Agency for Nuclear Safety will be activated."
Italy has suffered delays in a number of major infrastructure projects due to their rejection by local citizens but Scajola said nuclear projects would not be affected, because "the local communities will have direct benefits, for the citizens will pay less energy taxes while the local authorities will increase their revenues."
Also attending the conference was Fulvio Conti, the head of Enel and the head of Edison, Umberto Quadrino. The latter declared that "Edison is looking carefully at the debate... Electricité de France is one of our shareholders, thus whenever it will be the time, we will be ready to participate."
Conti remarked on the gap in communication of nuclear issues in Italy: "We have to face a 25-year lack of communication, while those against nuclear were the strongest voices in the debate." Asked whether Italy should start to get back to nuclear energy, Conti replied, "I can't see why Italy, which is already importing energy produced in nuclear power plants, can't enter into this market, realizing plants with the same technological level and safety guarantees."
By Luciano Lavecchia
for World Nuclear News