Italy’s Berlusconi Vows a Return to Nuclear

  • Published on September 21st, 2008

Italian energy plan to also include renewables

silvio berlusconi announces nuclear and renewable energy plan for italy[social_buttons]Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced the introduction of “a national energy plan” on Saturday, including a return to nuclear power.

A month after the conservatives and their embattled leader returned to power back in April, the Italian government said it would begin building nuclear power stations to solve the country’s dependence on foreign oil and gas supplies.

“A new national energy plan will be presented in spring, which will be based on three points: diversification of supplies, the start of nuclear energy production and development of renewable and alternative energy,” Berlusconi said at the opening ceremony of a new liquefied natural gas terminal.

>>More on energy policy in Europe at RG&B

The decision to return to nuclear would reverse a 20-year ban on nuclear power stemming from a 1987 referendum passed in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, a year earlier. The country’s four nuclear plants operating at the time were shut down, and have not produced any power since.

A return to nuclear power would be long, complicated, and undoubtedly contentious. Under Italian law, local authorities have a final say in approval of any big industrial project. Even proponents of a return to nuclear power say it would be extremely difficult to swing public opinion and find sites for new plants and waste storage.

“We say ‘No’ to nuclear… to construction of plants which would be outdated by the time they are built… the plants which are not secure and create waste problems,” said Marcello Saponaro, the head of Greens in the northern region of Lombardy.

But the political environment in Italy may be ripe for nuclear as the country is facing skyrocketing energy prices. Berlusconi said the new energy plan will lower the cost of electricity for Italian consumers, which are among the highest in Europe.

Very little of Italy’s electricity is generated domestically; the country imports 87 percent of its energy, most of which come in the form of fossil fuels. Renewables account for about 15-17 percent of Italy’s energy mix, and most of that comes from hydroelectric power.

Image Credit: Alessio85 via flickr under a Creative Commons License

About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.
  • ценно 🙂 недурственно

  • Jiff Jones

    LOL, Seems everyone wants to jump on the nuclear bandwagon. Sadly the Bush Regime (aka World Police Dept) will never let that happen.


  • Complete and utter madness. I've just blogged about this.

    Italy cannot manage normal waste, let alone that of the nuclear variety.

    And Italy is chock a block full of renewable resources.

    With Italian imagination brought into play, Italy could become a world leader in the renewable energy sector.

    Regards – from Milan, Italy,

    Alex Roe

  • silencer

    So…. now America can say you are developing weapons to destroy the USA and invade. Nice.