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Italy puts a one-year delay on new nuclear build programme

The Italian cabinet approved on Wednesday a one-year moratorium on plans to bring about a return to civilian nuclear power. Ministers have said that should the government not be satisfied with the results of EU safety stress tests, to be carried out in response to the incident still unfolding at Fukushima, Japan, the programme could be ended. It had called for nuclear power to provide 25% of Italy’s energy by 2020, with a further 25% coming from renewables and the remaining 50% coming from fossil fuels. Like Japan, Italy is a net energy importer and therefore nuclear power was seen as attractive as a means of reducing the economic burden of fossil fuel imports.

Italy previously banned nuclear power in a 1987 referendum in response to the Chernobyl disaster and in 2008, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced that it would be making a return.

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