Why do we have nuclear fuel in Italy?
The nuclear fuel present in Italy is linked not only to the past time of electricity production from nuclear source, started between the 50s and 80s with the construction of the nuclear power plants of Caorso, Garigliano, Latina and Trino, with the activity of research carried out in the Casaccia, Rotondella and Saluggia plants, but its presence is also connected to the activity of the research reactors located at the ENEA Casaccia Research Center: TRIGA RC-1 (Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics - Reactor Casaccia 1), ROSPO (Organic Experimental Power Reactor zerO), RANA (Neutronic Analysis in Water Reactor), RITMO (Reactor Engineering and Technology ZerO Power Materials) and TAPIRO (Rapid Tare Timing at zerO power) and TRIGA Mark II reactor placed inside the LENA (Applied Nuclear Energy Laboratory) of the University of Pavia (currently the only 1st class reactor operating in Italy).
However, Italy was also among the first countries to decide, with the referendums of 1987 and 2011, to renounce the production of electricity from nuclear sources, causing the closure of these plants.
Sogin has been entrusted, with the Legislative Decree no. 79 of 16th March 1999 on the liberalisation of the electricity sector, with the management of the nuclear fuel used in the Caorso, Garigliano, Latina and Trino power plants and the one linked to the Superphenix project in the French Creys Malville power plant. Subsequently, Sogin also took over the management of materials and fuel present in the former research facilities of Casaccia, Rotondella and Saluggia, in addition to the FN plant of Bosco Marengo.
The strategy adopted by Sogin for fuel management follows the guidelines formulated by the Italian Government. Following the Ministerial Decree of 2nd December 2004, Sogin replaced the dry storage option at the plants with the treatment and reprocessing abroad of the remaining fuel still present in Italy, with the exception of the Elk River fuel on the Rotondella site.
The 2004 strategy is confirmed by the guidelines issued on the 28th of March 2006. In the same year, the French and Italian governments signed the Intergovernmental Agreement at Lucca for the treatment of fuel at the La Hague reprocessing plant in France, of the irradiated nuclear energy present at the Caorso, Trino and Garigliano sites, partly stored at the Avogadro Deposit pool in Saluggia. Following this agreement, Sogin signed a transport and reprocessing contract with the French operator AREVA (now ORANO).