Italy: CDP head says wrong to reject nuclear power

Milan: The chief executive of Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) on Monday said the energy transition required a flexible approach that left all the options option, including nuclear power.

At the United Nation’s COP28 climate summit on Saturday, more than 20 nations signed a declaration aiming to triple nuclear power capacity by 2050.

Speaking at a conference in Milan on sustainable finance also attended by the heads of CDP’s peers in Germany, France and Spain, CDP CEO Dario Scannapieco said the transition was not “a switch” but a process that would rely on natural gas in the interim.

“To rule out, for ideological reasons, nuclear power from the energy sources of the future would be wrong,” Scannapieco told reporters.

“Nuclear power … is very different today, there are several advanced models of fission, there is nuclear fusion … as CDP we’ll try to give our contribution … with a clear sense of direction,” he added.

Italy banned nuclear energy after it was rejected in a national referendum in 1987 and another in 2011.

The ban needs to be overturned for Italy to introduce nuclear energy again in the country.

Speaking in Dubai on Saturday, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said Italy could take a lead role in nuclear fusion, a technology “which could be tomorrow’s solution to all energy problems and crises.”
Nuclear fusion, which differs from fission because it fuses two atomic nuclei instead of splitting one, “is one of those technologies where Italy is ahead and it’s something which will always get my utmost attention and support,” Meloni said.

Italian energy group Eni (ENI.MI) is working with U.S.-based Commonwealth Fusion System to accelerate the industrialisation of nuclear fusion energy.

Echoing comments by Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel, who told a recent event in Milan that private funds are needed to fund the euro zone economy’s green transition, Scannapieco said it was important for state agencies such as CDP to catalyse private investments.