Italy Considers Nuclear Energy Role Alongside Renewables for Net Zero Emissions Target

Italian Energy Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin has highlighted the potential role of energy in 's transition towards net zero emissions by 2050. This stance marks a significant departure from Italy's historical aversion to nuclear power, notably underscored by a 2011 referendum banning nuclear-fired power plants.

“A contribution from nuclear energy in our energy mix would help Italy a lot in meeting the net zero target by 2050,” Pichetto stated at an event preceding the G7 energy meeting in Turin.

However, the reintroduction of nuclear energy into Italy's energy strategy is not without controversy, as it diverges from past public sentiment and poses potential discord among G7 nations. Notably, Germany is reportedly resistant to Italy's advocacy for broader support for nuclear energy as a transitional measure away from fossil fuels.

Pichetto emphasized support for the development of small nuclear reactors, suggesting they could offer cost reductions and facilitate decarbonization efforts, particularly in sectors like steel production. Italy's energy ministry recently announced the country's participation in a European industrial alliance focused on the advancement of such reactors.

In parallel, Italy aims to accelerate its decarbonization initiatives, including the closure of coal-fired plants. Pichetto indicated readiness to revise Italy's timeline for shuttering coal-power facilities as a means to rally G7 counterparts – the , Britain, France, Germany, , and Japan – towards a collective target date for phasing out coal, a significant contributor to environmental pollution.

Italy, currently holding the G7 presidency, is slated to close its coal-power plants by 2025, with the exception of those on the island of , set for closure by 2028.

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