On Monday, French power group EDF [EDF.FP], its Italian subsidiary Edison [EDN.IM], Italy’s Ansaldo Energia and its unit Ansaldo Nucleare announced that they are exploring the possibility of collaborating on nuclear energy development in Europe, as reported by Reuters on March 6. The focus of the cooperation would be to support EDF’s small modular reactor projects, according to a letter of intent signed by the parties involved.
The agreement also seeks to renew the discussion on atomic energy in Italy. Italy’s decision to not pursue nuclear energy was largely influenced by a 1987 referendum in which Italians voted against the continued use of nuclear power. The referendum followed the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, which heightened safety concerns about nuclear energy. Additionally, Italy has a history of seismic activity, and the potential risks associated with nuclear accidents in an earthquake-prone region may have also played a role in the decision to discontinue nuclear power. However, with the recent spike in energy prices and a desire to reduce carbon emissions, there is now renewed interest in nuclear energy in Italy.