Consultation on Italian repository concludes

16 March 2022

Following a one-year public consultation, Italy's Societa Gestione Impianti Nucleari SpA (Sogin) has submitted to the Ministry of Ecological Transition the proposal for the National Charter of Eligible Areas (CNAI) to host the national repository for radioactive waste and a technological park.

A total of 67 potential host locations for facility were identified in the CNAPI (Image: Sogin)

On 5 January 2021, Sogin - the Italian state-owned company responsible for dismantling the country's nuclear power plants - published the National Charter of Potentially Suitable Areas (CNAPI) to host the national radioactive waste store and a technological park. It also released all the documents related to the project. The CNAPI included a list of 67 potential sites in Piedmont, Tuscany, Lazio, Puglia, Basilicata, Sardinia and Sicily for a radioactive waste storage facility. A public consultation was begun with the publication of the CNAPI.

The consultation, which concluded on 14 January this year, was divided into three phases.

In the first, which lasted six months until 5 July 2021, Sogin collected more than 300 observations and technical proposals received on the CNAPI and on the national repository project from various interested parties.

This phase was followed by the National Seminar, held from 7 September to 24 November. The National Seminar consisted of nine meetings, broadcast online. In addition to the opening and closing plenary sessions, seven sessions were held, a national one and six dedicated to the potentially suitable areas belonging to the regions involved. The National Seminar phase ended on 15 December with the publication of the overall report of the sessions.

At the conclusion of the National Seminar, a second phase of public consultation was held in the following 30 days, during which stakeholders were able to submit further observations and technical proposals in light of the outcomes of the National Seminar.

Sogin said the CNAI proposal it has now sent to the Ministry of Ecological Transition has been prepared "on the basis of over 600 questions, observations and proposals, for a total of over 25,000 pages consisting of deeds, documents, studies, technical reports and maps."

The Ministry of Ecological Transition, having acquired the technical opinion of the National Inspectorate for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ISIN), must now approves the CNAI with its own decree, in agreement with the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility. The map of potential sites will then be published on the websites of Sogin, the two ministries and the ISIN.

"The publication of the CNAI will therefore start the concertation phase aimed at collecting non-binding expressions of interest, to continue the participatory process by the regions and local authorities in whose territories the suitable areas fall, with the aim of reaching a shared decision of the site in which to create the national repository," Sogin said.

The planned surface-level waste store and technology park will be built in an area of about 150 hectares, of which 110 are dedicated to the repository and 40 to the park. The store will have the capacity to hold about 78,000 cubic metres of very low and low-level radioactive waste, as well as about 17,000 cubic metres of intermediate and high-level waste, pending the availability of a deep geological repository suitable for its disposal. The technology park will be a research centre, open to international cooperation, where activities in the energy, waste management and sustainable development fields can be carried out.

Italy's radioactive waste is currently stored in about 20 temporary sites, which are not suitable for final disposal. In addition to waste generated through the operation and decommissioning of its fuel cycle facilities and nuclear power plants, it includes radioactive wastes from medical, industrial and research activities.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News