The Italian government has launched the National Platform for Sustainable Nuclear Power, which will lead within nine months to developing guidelines for possibly reintroducing nuclear power among national energy sources.
Thursday (21 September) saw the first meeting of the National Platform for a Sustainable Nuclear, set up by the government to define a time frame for the possible resumption of nuclear energy in Italy and identify opportunities for the country’s industrial chain already operating in the sector.
As anticipated in the electoral programme of the centre-right government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni with parties Fratelli d’Italia (ECR), Lega (ID), Forza Italia (EPP), Italy will consider reinstating nuclear power among the country’s energy sources.
“We aim to eliminate coal first, then oil, and conserve gas until renewables are developed enough to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050,” said Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin.
“But in the long run, the continued demand for energy will be such that we will have to provide for the use of sources that ensure, as opposed to renewables, continuity in energy delivery. Just like nuclear power,” he added.
The government has ruled out the use of large third-generation nuclear power plants but is looking at new technologies such as Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and fourth-generation nuclear reactors (AMRs), which are considered safer. It is planned to develop guidelines within nine months.
The meeting chaired by Fratin was attended by leading public research organisations, academics, scientific associations, and public entities operating in the field of nuclear safety and decommissioning. Also in attendance were companies that already have investment programs in the nuclear sector, for instance in the production of components and plants and in medical applications in the nuclear sector.
Italy, as stated in an official note from the ministry, is focusing on the wide deployment of renewables and energy efficiency to ensure decarbonisation and energy security, including through diversification of sources and integration of the different technological solutions available, including nuclear fusion and fission.
“Italy cannot waste time: the goal of returning to clean and safe energy production through nuclear power, starting in the next few years, must be clear,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Matteo Salvini (Lega/ID).
Criticism came from left-wing environmentalist parties such as Europa Verde, who protested in front of the Environment and Energy Security Ministry headquarters with a banner reading: “Nuclear proven, disaster assured”.
“Minister Fratin seems to have forgotten a fundamental lesson: nuclear energy is an economic and environmental dead end. We are talking about an energy that requires massive public investment,” pointed out Green and Left Alliance MP Angelo Bonelli.
(Federica Pascale | Euractiv.it)
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