Monday, August 03, 2009

Italy Swings Open the Door to Nuclear Energy

Italian nuclear plant No sooner does Italy drop its ban on new nuclear plant development than someone starts developing them:

The Italian energy company Enel has formed a joint venture with France's EdF to develop nuclear energy in Italy, the companies said in a joint statement Monday.

The companies billed the move "as the first substantial step" toward establishing nuclear plants in Italy following the approval of an Italian law last month allowing a return to nuclear energy more than two decades after voters shut down the country's reactors.

The new venture is called Italy Nuclear Development (Sviluppo Nucleare Italia). You can read Enel’s take on this development here. Interestingly, Enel is not completely new to this:

EdF and Enel have been working together since 2007 on the construction of a third-generation reactor in Flamanville in Normandy, in which Enel owns a 12.5 percent stake. By a separate agreement Enel will take an identical-sized stake in the second EPR reactor that EdF is to build at Penly in Normandy.

At first, we thought Enel’s interest was to import some of the electricity from France – and that might well be part of the deal – but Flamanville and Penly are both in the northern part of France, nowhere near the Italian border. Given France’s profile – 80% of their electricity is generated by nuclear energy – maybe it doesn’t matter – maybe Enel was just getting up to speed on new technologies. In any event, here comes nuclear energy in Italy. Welcome.

An Italian nuclear plant. The country had four at most and closed them all in the wake of Chernobyl.


perdajz said...

Makes perfect sense. Closing down your nuclear plants only to import 15% of your electricity from France is inexplicable, even by the standards of Italian politics. The meaning should be reiterated for the likes of Gunter. The worlds' seventh largest economy concedes that after twenty years, forsaking nuclear power was a disastrous mistake.

Vertigo said...

If only Britain had as much foresight and firm decision making as Italy - Italy's nuclear research institues are far more advanced than Britain's.