Nuclear Power

29 Apr 2024

Italy Sees Role for Nuclear Energy to Meet Green Goals, Minister Says

29 Apr 2024  by reuters   

Italian Environment and Energy Security Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin walks, on the day of the first new cabinet meeting at Chigi Palace, in Rome, Italy October 23, 2022. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/ File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Italy sees a role for nuclear energy, alongside renewable energy sources, to meet the country's net zero emission target by 2050, Energy Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin said on Sunday.

Nuclear energy is a controversial issue in Italy where nuclear-fired power plants were banned after Italians voted in a 2011 referendum against a law for a national nuclear programme.

Pichetto, who will head negotiations among energy ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) most industrialised countries starting on Monday in Turin, said that nuclear energy would allow Italy to protect the environment, but also reach complete independence on the energy front.

"A contribution from nuclear energy in our energy mix would help Italy a lot in meeting the net zero target by 2050," Pichetto said at an event ahead of the G7 energy meeting.

The issue also risks being divisive at the talks with other G7 countries, Italian diplomatic sources said, adding Germany was resisting a push by Italy to agree for broad support for nuclear energy as a transition from fossil fuel.

At the event, Pichetto expressed support for the development of so-called small nuclear reactors, which nuclear advocates say could reduce costs and help decarbonise highly polluting sectors such as steel production.

The energy ministry on Sunday announced Italy would join a European industrial alliance to develop such reactors.

Speaking about national efforts for decarbonisation, Pichetto said Italy was ready to bring forward its deadline to shut coal-fired plants as a way to convince other G7 partners - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Canada and Japan - to agree a target date to phase out the most polluting fossil fuel.

Italy, which heads the G7 rotating presidency this year, currently plans to turn off its coal-power plants by 2025, except on the island of Sardinia, for which the deadline is 2028.


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