Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nuclear energy. A delicate matter

Italy is now in a confusing and chaotic discussion about nuclear energy, because of a law decree (2008-06-25) that allows the construction of new power plants based on nuclear fission technology.

But Italy decided, in 1987, to repeal the norms that gave the central government the power and the resources to select the location, decide about the "risk compensation" and allow the (at the time) public utility ENEL to invest in nuclear power plants abroad.

Now, we are going to vote (again) in a referendum, to repeal the new law decree.

Just after the new referendum proposition, a "Nuclear Forum" started an advertising campaign to promote the use of the forum, to discuss ideas, improve knowledge and increase awareness about the delicate matter of nuclear energy.
The nuclear forum (Italian) seemed to be a good idea, initially. But a recent decision of the self-disciplining committee of advertisment blocked the video, since it is factious and subtly oriented towards nuclear energy.

To make matters worse, the referendum is structured in a typical legalese way, with the result that if you DO NOT want nuclear power plants in Italy, you have to mark YES.

My opinion is to mark YES to this referendum, because I believe - no, I do not "believe", I assume the position, after evaluating several pros and cons, that nuclear power plants constitute an unbearable risk, and even the benefit-cost ratio is too low to consider the option.

I try to outline the facts here, I'll write some in-depth posts soon:

Issues (pros and cons and pros-that-actually-are-cons):
- Risks for power plant and waste management: impact evaluation is too "optimistic", root-cause analysis is shallow both in interrelation and time: long-term effects on nature and humans, disease. Even risks are not well identified
- Waste management: disposal and storage costs, in a long term
- Fissile material procurement and long-term scenario
- Economic development
- Energy independence
- Energy total cost
- Commissioning time and energy needs


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