After the Italian regional elections, all eyes are upon Piedmont and Latium, two regions where centre-left candidates proved to be proudly antinuke and even centre-right winners, convinced or not, expressed critical opinions against localization in their region. The whole scheme for the definition of sites will then have to take into account some “political” exceptions, as for Apulia, Sardinia and Sicily.

Will that oath, taken by governor candidates on the platform of Rome, justify a post-election change of position? We will see what the next moves will be.
For the time being, not only is the nuclear choice a problem as regards localization, but is increasingly losing credibility as a strategic option. In the next decades the high cost of nuclear kWh will have to meet the comparison with the price of renewable sources, which, on the contrary, is bound to decrease following a learning curve. A greater interest in this matter is speeding up the pace of renewables.
“100% renewable electricity: a roadmap to 2050 for Europe and North Africa”, a report prepared in the past few days by trustworthy research centres and shared by important European companies, outlines a scenario that would allow satisfying the electricity demand of our continent using clean energy within 40 years (Qualenergia.it).

Should our ideal nuclear power plants make a significant contribution of energy – in approximately twenty years – they would oppose the strong production trend of decentralized renewables and the consolidation of huge off-shore wind projects in the North Sea and solar plants in North Africa. The scenario outlined above is that of low-cost electricity in competition with our dear nuclear kWh supported by public funds.

In the last few days, Italian power company Enel rightly took precautions joining the Desertec project – which involves 400 billion dollar investments in the Sahara – making use of the expertise acquired in thermodynamic solar systems and Italian technologies.

The next few years will tell if the nuclear hypothesis will be wrecked, as expected, on the reef of local opposition and of the scepticism of the financial world. In the end, this choice is certainly risking to turn resources and time from the real adventure that has just begun, that of renewable energies, which – as in the case of wind and photovoltaic power – met with great success world-wide even at times of crisis like this.

Gianni Silvestrini
(Scientific Director of QualEnergia)