The superficial relaunch of nuclear power


The Conference of Regions rejected the government document on the draft resolution due to reactor types and an unsatisfactory cost analysis. In addition, the nuclear security Agency is not operational yet. In the meantime, in the rest of the world, the production of energy from renewable sources is outclassing nuclear power. Editorial by Gianni Silvestrini.


Not a day passes without noticing the slapdash relaunch of nuclear power in Italy. Italian Law 99 dated July 2009 established that the types of nuclear power plants to be constructed in the country would be defined within six months. Instead of 6 months, 18 months have gone by and, on top of that, Regions have rejected the Cipe document presented by the government. Last week, the Conference of Regions expressed a negative opinion on the draft resolution as concerns reactor types, underlying the superficiality of technical descriptions and the lack of a serious and practical economic analysis.

This delay goes together with the incredible misadventures of the nuclear security Agency, a fundamental instrument for any nuclear power relaunch, which is not operational yet because of the disputes among ministries with regard to the composition of the board of directors.

While these delays in defining acts that should have been rapidly drawn up are revealing the government’s confusion, the decision of the Constitutional Court on the admissibility of the nuclear energy referendum may challenge the very future of this adventure. The debate that should have taken place in any normal country confronted with the decision to reintroduce a technology that was banned in a previous referendum, will now have the possibility to start. This apparently detached but practically deceptive chess game, which flooded daily newspapers, magazines and television, may then turn into open discussions on costs, risks, locations.

While the Italian government is sinking with less and less conviction into the nuclear quicksand, in the rest of the world the growth of renewables is clearly pointing to the winning solution: renewables, as can be seen in the graph below.

The cumulative production of electricity from the new wind and solar power plants installed in the world between 2005 and 2010 beats 3-1 the production from the new nuclear power plants that started working in the same period. (Source: QualEnergia).

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