Where are nuclear wastes in italy?
Italians protest nuclear waste proposal
Nov 23, 2003 - Tens of thousands of demonstrators in Basilicata Sunday protested government plans to build Italy's first nuclear waste repository in the region in the extreme south of Italy .
The demonstration was called by Italy's three biggest trade unions, which said more than 50,000 people marched to Scanzano Jonico, the proposed site for the dump, while police estimated the turnout at 30,000.
The unions said in a statement that the demonstration was a "unequival response" against the project from a region that has "made environmental concerns a determining factor in development."
Leaders of local parties joined the demonstration, saying the region depended on agriculture and tourism and did not need a nuclear test dump.
Protests have taken place all week, affecting road and rail transport throughout southern Italy.
The government decreed November 13 that the national nuclear repository would be constructed at Scanzano Jonico. It partly retreated Thursday, saying it was "ready to modify" the decision.
But the demonstrators want the decree annulled.
"It's clear to me that the whole of Basilicata is here, it has made its stand and it wants the decree to be taken back," said Filippo Bubbico, president of the region, who headed the demonstration.
Italy backtracks on nuclear waste decision after mass protests
Nov 27, 2003 - The Italian government went back on a decision to construct Italy's first nuclear waste repository in a town in the extreme south of the country, after massive local protests.
The government struck the town of Scanzano Jonico -- the proposed site for the dump -- from a November 13 decree authorising the construction of a single nuclear waste storage site.
It ordered a scientific committee to come up with a new site within 18 months.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators in the Basilicata region, which depends on agriculture and tourism as its livelihood, had regularly protested the government's plans.
The Italian government has since January sought to consolidate its nuclear waste storage facilities in order to better protect against a possible terrorist attack.
Almost 55,000 cubic metres of highly radioactive nuclear waste and nearly 300 tonnes of spent fuel are currently stored at 19 sites throughout Italy.
Italy delays decision on nuclear waste site
November 28, 2003 - After two weeks of protests, the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday was forced to backtrack from a decision to make the small southern town of Scanzano Jonico the site of the main nuclear waste repository in Italy.
At a cabinet meeting in Rome, the government amended a decree regulating Italy's nuclear waste and withdrew Scanzano Jonico as the designated site. Two weeks ago, a cabinet decree had singled out this town of 7,000 as the lone repository of the waste, effective immediately. Experts had identified the town's underground salt caverns as potentially suitable deposits for high-level nuclear waste.
That decision sparked immediate protests. For nearly two weeks, residents blocked highways and oil wells, and shut down shops and businesses. A reported 100,000 people marched last Sunday in what was described as the largest demonstration held in the southern region of Basilicata.
On Thursday, residents of Scanzano Jonico greeted the government's about-face with cheers and tears of joy.
"A nightmare is over," said Filippo Bubbico, president of the Basilicata region.
In a statement, the government said it would name a commission that would have 12 months to find an appropriate site for a national nuclear waste dump.
The delay postpones a resolution to problem that experts say is increasingly becoming one that governments in industrialized nations cannot sidestep.
"There's the risk of terrorism; problems of security exist," said Sandro Giulianelli, the director of the Nuclear Department at APAT, the national agency responsible for nuclear and health security. He added that some facilities storing combustible waste are aging. "We have to find a solution."
Some 55,000 cubic meters, or 1.9 million cubic feet, of low- and mid-level nuclear waste and 8,500 cubic meters of high-level waste are stored in 140 dumps in 25 cities. Another 60 temporary deposits treat and store low-level nuclear waste, including the 500 tons of radioactive waste generated each year, mostly by medical treatment with radiation.
Last February, fearing accidents, natural catastrophes or terrorist attacks, the government declared a state of emergency in the areas that contain Italy's nuclear plants.
This prompted Sogin, the government agency responsible for managing Italy's nuclear program, to carry out the study that singled out Scanzano Jonico as the most secure site for the waste's permanent disposal.
Despite the government's decision on Thursday, the decree regulating Italy's nuclear waste will go to Parliament to be discussed. And Scanzano Jonico may not be off the hook. In an interview in the Thursday editions of Corriere della Sera, Enzo Boschi, the director of the National Geophysics Institute, said the town was the only secure location in Italy where a deep disposal site could be situated.
The issue of nuclear waste disposal recently has reverberated across the globe. This week, demonstrators protesting the U.S. government's decision to bury nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, in Nevada, jeered President George W. Bush when he visited Las Vegas, 90 miles, or 145 kilometers, away.
Protests also continued in South Korea this week against a proposed nuclear waste dump in the southwestern city of Puan. Several people were taken to the hospital after scuffles between protesters and police officers.
And earlier this month, anti-nuclear protesters unsuccessfully tried to halt a shipment of highly radioactive nuclear waste traveling from a reprocessing plant in France to a storage dump in Gorbelen, Germany.
In Italy, the demonstrations in Scanzano Jonico struck a chord throughout the country, reawakening a deeply rooted mistrust of things nuclear.
Every time a city's name came up in press reports as a possible alternative to Scanzano Jonico, local lawmakers were quick to make their objections known. "The problem here is not scientific," said Enzo Boschi, the director of the National Geophysics and Vulcanology Institute. "What happened in Scanzano had become a social drama, and the government has been wise to take some time out to better inform people."
International Herald Tribune Small town in south wins a reprieve
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