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Nuclear power plants in Italy

Nuclear power plants in Italy

Italy became the first country to completely shut down all existing nuclear power plants and completely abandon nuclear power. Currently, Italy does not have any nuclear power plants in operation. However, there were plans for the construction of nuclear power plants in the past.

In 1987, after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Italy held a referendum in which voters rejected nuclear power and approved a law establishing a nuclear moratorium. As a result, the four nuclear power plants under construction at the time (Caorso, Montalto di Castro, Trino Vercellese and Garigliano) never went into operation and their construction was halted.

Since then they have depended and depend on oil and, above all, gas from Algeria and Russia.

Return to nuclear power

However, in 2009 Italy again turned to nuclear power to produce electricity.

The Italian and French governments signed an agreement for French companies specializing in nuclear development (Areva, EDF) to participate in the construction of four third-generation nuclear power plants in Italy.

On June 12, 2011, a referendum was to be held in Italy to restart investment in nuclear energy. The current Government had a project to start the works of four plants in 2013 and have them fully operational in 2020.

The referendum was to be held three months after the unfortunate Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. Due to the accident at the Japanese plant, the pebiscito was postponed.

Second rejection of nuclear energy by the Italians

The referendum was finally held in June 2011. 

The result of the referendum in Italy in 2011 clearly demonstrated the rejection of the Italian citizens to the return of nuclear energy. The result was an overwhelming 94% vote against the plan to return to nuclear energy drawn up by the Berlusconi government.

Finally, the Italian government confirmed the decision to abandon nuclear energy definitively. Since then, Italy has continued to rely primarily on renewable energy sources and natural gas for its energy needs.

List of decommissioned nuclear power plants

Below are the decommissioned nuclear power plants in Italy:

Nuclear power stationLocationBeginning of operationsClosing
garigliano campania 1964 1978
latin straight 1963 1987
Vercellese trill piedmont - -
caorso Emilia-Romagna - -
Montalto di Castro straight - -

The last plants on the list, Trino Vercellese and Montalto di Castro, never came online due to Italy's decision to abandon nuclear power in 1987, so they do not have start or shutdown dates.

Uranium mines

Italy had a uranium mine located in the town of San Giovanni in Sardinia, in the Sardinia region. It was called "Bosco Pietroso" (also known as the San Giovanni mine or the Seruci mine) and it was closed permanently in 1990.

This uranium mine was operated by an Italian state company called Società Nucleare Italiana (SNI). Uranium mining at the Bosco Pietroso mine began in the 1960s and continued until 1990, when it was finally closed.

During its operation, the Bosco Pietroso uranium mine was an important source of uranium for the Italian nuclear industry, providing the necessary material to power the nuclear power plants in operation at the time.

The closure of the Italian uranium mine was the result of various reasons, including environmental and public health concerns due to the presence of radioactivity and the risks associated with uranium mining. There were also economic considerations, as the demand for uranium declined due to the gradual dismantlement of the Italian nuclear program.

After mine closure, environmental remediation and restoration operations were carried out to mitigate the environmental impacts associated with mining activity.

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Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Last Revision: August 1, 2023