The management of nuclear waste in Italy is a sequence of errors

The management of nuclear waste in Italy is a sequence of errors

From delays in the choice of the national deposit to bureaucratic bottlenecks, up to the control systems never used at the borders: the merciless analysis of the Ecomafie commission names and sums. But the plot is always the same: Italy does not know how to manage its radioactive waste. From the construction of the national depot, where the waste will have to flow, to the dismantling of the plants whose end the 1987 referendum against nuclear power has decreed, up to the customs controls, the plan to identify, collect and dispose of waste from the supply chain. atom is full of flaws.

The dates change because the times get longer, the names because governments succeed one another, the sums because the delays increase the costs. In 2014 it was estimated that each year accumulated in the decommissioning activities of the former nuclear plants alone would cost between 8 and 10 million euros more per site. The sequence of errors lined up for the umpteenth time is the report, freshly approved, by the bicameral commission of inquiry on illegal activities connected to the waste cycle (Ecomafie, speakers Stefano Vignaroli and Pietro Lorefice of the Movimento 5 Stelle and Rossella Muroni di Let's Eco), which took stock of the nuclear dossier. And the results are disheartening.

The map of nuclear plants in Italy (Sogin)

The delays in the deposit

Let's start with the project par excellence: the national deposit. At the beginning of the year, five years after its completion, the national map of potentially suitable areas (CNAPI) was finally published, ie the map that identifies the locations that meet the requirements to host the infrastructure. After years of silence, a cold shower that put the municipalities that administer the 67 candidate areas on the alert. The outcry by the mayors prompted Parliament to grant an extension of time to present the counter-deductions to Sogin, the public company in charge of nuclear decommissioning. But there is a risk of further delays.

The plant is a critical and urgent infrastructure. It will accommodate 78 thousand cubic meters of low and medium intensity waste. Not only the legacy of Italian nuclear power, but also the waste that still generates industries, research laboratories or healthcare applications in hospitals. It will make it possible to reduce the spaces where these waste are kept today, reducing the expenses paid off by the contributions in the bill, and to place them in a safe place. In addition, the waste that Italy has temporarily sent abroad, upon payment, will also end up in the deposit. And that now, given the delays, the other countries are hesitating to take on. France has stopped the transfer of 13 tons of waste from the Avogadro depot, in Piedmont, precisely because of the uncertainty about the construction of the depot.

In 2019 the Ministry of Economic Development (Mise) calculated that it would take at least 44 months from the release of the CNAPI to get the go-ahead for construction. With the last extension voted in the Milleproroghe they will become 52. And to build it it will take four years and 900 million euros.

One of the causes of the delays was a revision of the seismic criteria. In 2019, the Undersecretary of the Mise Davide Crippa, at Movimento 5 Stelle, who has the nuclear dossier in hand, decides that the areas in seismic zone 2 (a classification of earthquake risk in Italy) must also be excluded. The list of locations already includes those considered to be of high seismicity, although, for the previous Ecomafie commission, this is a "particularly severe" criterion that puts out areas that are "generally more valid than those allowed". The Mise line passes, we proceed to the correction of the Cnapi. Except then, it emerges from the report, that land in seismic zone 2 is found among the 67 candidates for the deposit.

The 67 areas identified by Cnapi

Checks checked

The deposit is not the the only aspect on which Italy is lagging behind. By 2015, Rome should have sent its national program for the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste to the European Commission. In 2019 the Court of Justice of the European Union condemns Italy for defaulting. Despite having a draft of the plan since 2017. Only later was the correspondence sent and Brussels withdrew the infringement procedure.

In 2014 a decree law establishes a new control authority for the atom: the Inspectorate for Nuclear Safety and Radiological Protection ( Isin). He is baptized four years later, but it takes one more for him to take his first steps. Organizational problems are immediately evident. Above all, the staff in strength: lower than expected (65 people against 90 expected) and too close to retirement (12 will go there by 2021). Moreover, without a handover, which requires three to five years of training.

Isin is not a bureaucratic tinsel. It is up to this body to turn the green light on nuclear decommissioning, so under these conditions it represents one of the bottlenecks of the nuclear plan. Until 2024 he calculates that he has to give the green light to the works, in some cases of files traveling from 2012 or 2014. For Sogin, who has already accumulated delays on his decommissioning plan, ISIN risks being yet another factor that it will lengthen time and raise costs.

In general, nuclear power has been relegated to the background. To the point that in 2021 the implementing decrees of a 1995 law are missing. The competences between ministries, independent authorities and research bodies have not yet been reorganized, thus creating unnecessary overlaps or gaps that nail decision-making processes.

The spending plan of the nuclear decommissioning plan (Sogin)

The issue of waste

This situation has slowed the decommissioning of nuclear power plants and former plants. Last year Sogin has already revised costs upwards: € 7.89 billion. Completion of works: 2036. From the forecasts of 2001, the Commission notes, the budget, subsidized by bills, has doubled. There are technical problems with the treatment of some types of waste, such as the resins in the Trino Vercellese plant or the radioactive sludge in Latina, and others of a contractual nature. The chaos with the Eurex contract in Saluggia forced the Mise to postpone the completion of the works to solidify the highly radioactive liquid waste stored in the plant until 2023. The end of the waste treatments (including 88 drums with material from Chernobyl) at Cemerad in Taranto, scheduled for 2020, has also been postponed. 15% of damaged stems among the 16,540 present. In fact, it was 70%.

But it is not only the former power plants that need to be dealt with, but also the many activities that produce radioactive waste in turn. On the one hand, the integrated national service is managed by Nucleco, now controlled by Sogin, which has about a thousand cubic meters available for the near future. On the other hand, Aeneas, a research institution, which could reach 4,000 but which must take care of the waste that can be entrusted to it, for example, in the event of the bankruptcy of an operator. Overall, there is a data sharing problem. And programming. According to Nucleco, for example, in Italy almost all hospitals have no plans for the disposal of cyclotrons, used for nuclear medicine.

Holes at customs

The last flaw concerns border controls, to find radioactive material among scrap or semi-finished metal products. Again, there would be the solution: subjecting each load to passing under detection systems. There would also be these systems: 30 radiometric portals were delivered in 2003 at 25 border points. The purchase dates back to 1996, costing five billion euros. But, as Wired also denounced, those systems have been left to make dust. Even knowing that, among the incoming or outgoing goods, even radioactive loads risk passing over in silence. One hundred were found in the convoys that in 2008 transported Campania waste to the waste-to-energy plants in Germany. In the same ports where these systems are located, spot checks have found contamination. Who knows what the result would have been if the portals had been turned on at least once.

Startup - 1 hour ago

Everli supermarket ecommerce raises 100 million investments

adsJSCode ("nativeADV1", [[2,1]], "true", "1"); Startup - 2 hours ago

Opening a startup without a notary is illegitimate, according to a sentence

adsJSCode ("nativeADV2", [[2,1]], "true", "2") ; Politics - 4 hours ago

In Sicily there is an investigation into the alleged falsification of data on infections from Covid-19


Environment Nuclear storage nuclear energy Europe Italy Waste Policy globalData.fldTopic = "Environment, Nuclear Storage, Nuclear Energy, Europe, Italy, Politics, Waste"

You may also be interested

This opera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Powered by Blogger.