Skip to main content

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.

Comments

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.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…