Italians pay the highest energy prices in Europe, and with escalating oil and gas costs, the country is changing its stance on nuclear power. More than 20 years after a public referendum banned nuclear power and deactivated all of Italy's reactors, Industry minister Claudio Scajola recently announced a new national energy strategy that includes the construction of new generation plants within the next five years.
Italy ‘needs energy at competitive prices, in sufficient quantities and under guaranteed conditions. Our current energy bill is some 60 billion euro and forces us to have a trade deficit', Scajola explained at the annual assembly of the employers' association, Confindustria. ‘Only with nuclear power will we be able to produce energy on a large scale, in a safe way, at competitive prices and with respect for the environment', he added.