The final decommissioning of the Bosco Marengo nuclear fuel fabrication plant has been authorised in Italy. It will be the first nuclear facility in the country to begin decommissioning. The decision was taken after consultations between the minister of economic development, Claudio Scajola, and the Italian Nuclear Safety Authority (Ispra).
The plant, known as Fabbricazioni Nucleari di Bosco Marengo, started operation in 1973, as result of the cooperation of Ansaldo Meccanico Nucleare and General Electric. Agip Nucleare, the former nuclear corporation controlled by the Italian oil-giant ENI gained a majority stake in the late 1970s.
Bosco Marengo produced more than 500 tonnes of fuel for domestic and overseas nuclear power plants. In 1989 ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment, bought the plant which was among a group of facilities that were subsequently transferred to Sogin, the decommissioning authority, in 2005.
According to Sogin's business plan for 2008-2012, which includes €4.5 million ($6.0 million) in work during 2009, Bosco Marengo will be the first nuclear facility safely decommissioned in Italy. It is located in the north west of Italy, about 80 km southeast of Turin.
After the completion of decommissioning, Sogin will keep under control of the site in cooperation with the Ispra and the regional environment safety authority, ARPA Piemonte.
This is the first decommissioning authorization decree ever issued in Italy. The final authorization for the Trino Vercellese nuclear power plant is expected for the first half of 2009, with that for the Caorso plant following in the second half of that year.
Italy built and operated a range of nuclear power plants during the 1960s and 1970s as part of a national strategy to reduce energy imports. However, a referendum called shortly after the Chernobyl disaster resulted in all being shut down before the end of 1987. This anti-nuclear policy was reversed this year by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to address the problems of Italian power prices being the highest in the developed world due to reliance on imports.