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Italian politicians accused of “cowardice” in tackling radioactive waste

i May 24th No Comments by

“Our politicians are so weak that they are unable to get across the message that a depot is much safer than the risks to which the entire population is currently exposed. So they prefer to pretend that the problem no longer exists.”  That is the view of Italy’s national newspaper Corriere Della Sera

The newspaper is critical of the delays in resolving Italy’s radioactive waste problems.  The state-owned company, Sogin, tasked with decommissioning Italy’s nuclear fleet after the 1987 referendum to end nuclear power in Italy has now announced their work will not be completed until until 2036 (originally was scheduled for 2014).  The rising costs (from an initial €4.5bn to a projected €7.25bn) are being paid for by Italian consumers in their electricity bills.  It is claimed that the bulk of that money has been spent on Sogin’s staff and operating costs maintaining and securing multiple sites, rather than on the actual radioactive waste disposal programme.  No site has yet been identified for a permanent disposal facility, largely because of local opposition to any potential sites which have been identified.

In addition to the rising costs for Italian consumers, the newspaper is also concerned about a potential environmental disaster if the waste is not stored and disposed of safely.  It references comments from then Italian atomic energy organisation (ENEA) commissioner and Nobel Prize winner Carlo Rubbia that, following a flood at a nuclear site in 2000, that Italy had been “on the verge of a catastrophe of planetary proportions”.

Noting that the site of any radioactive waste disposal facility will require the consent of the local community, the newspaper calls for Italian politicians to press ahead with finding such a site.

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