58 are marked on the map, but in the end only one will remain. These are the areas suitable for hosting the national nuclear waste deposit. Sogin chose them, the public company created to dismantle and secure the Italian nuclear power plant after the 1987 and 2011 referendums. The definitive version of the National Charter of suitable areas (Cnai) has yet to be approved, but in the meantime The Essential is able to publish the draft sent in March by Sogin to the ministry of ecological transition. In the previous version, the Cnapi (Map of potentially suitable areas), the sites indicated were 67. In the new document there are 58, spread over 5 regions.
The national depot could be built in one of these, which should come into operation by 2029. The Sogin project designs a structure of 150 hectares: 40 for a technology park and 110 for the actual depot. In reality, there are two deposits inside, one for low radioactive waste and one for medium and high activity waste, both as large as 15 football fields.
The structure of the deposit is similar to a matryoshka. In the innermost layer go the artifacts, that is the metal containers filled with radioactive waste. These are wrapped in large concrete sarcophagi, called modules, which in turn are protected by a further reinforcement of reinforced concrete, the cell, and by an artificial hill of impermeable materials. In total, the repository is expected to house around 78,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste.
The 17 thousand tons of most radioactive waste, on the other hand, will be crammed into a temporary structure, the High Activity Storage Complex (CSA): “But when they talk about temporary they mean a hundred years, hoping to find in the meantime a suitable permanent deposit for this type of waste. It is a pity that there is not even one in the world ”, says Angelo Di Giorgio, vice president of Montalto Futura, one of the Lazio committees that oppose the construction of the depot.
The total investment would be 900 million euros, which would be added to the 3.7 billion already spent by Sogin in the last twenty years to complete just 35.5 for the dismantling of the Italian nuclear power plant.
Of the 58 areas marked in the Cnai, 22 are located in Lazio, 10 in Sardinia, 17 in Basilicata, 6 in Piedmont, 2 in Sicily and one in Puglia. Ten are circled in dark green, the color of category A1, which indicates the “very good continental” areas, divided equally between Piedmont and Lazio. These are the sites that Sogin considers most promising.
One of these is the Vt-08, 296 hectares in the green countryside of Montalto di Castro, in the Viterbo area. Here Luca and Paola Mariotti have a farm that produces excellences exported all over the world such as Canino’s olive oil. According to them, the waste deposit would give the final blow to an already disfigured territory: “In this area we have very high concentrations of carcinogenic gases such as radon, we have the Civitavecchia coal-fired power plant, the former Montalto nuclear power plant, one of the most high incidence rates in Italy for various cancers. How do they ignore it? It is madness”.
The national deposit could also have strong repercussions on tourist flows: “If you are a tourist, how can you have a similar sarcophagus in your land? It would be the death of the Sardinians and of Sardinia ”, says the coordinator of the No nucleus – No scoria committee, Marco Mameli.
In short, nobody wants the deposit, except the mayor of a small Piedmontese town. Daniele Pane is the first citizen of Trino, seven thousand souls in the province of Vercelli: “80 percent of Italian radioactivity is in Piedmont, between Trino and Saluggia. The repository would allow me to secure this waste, as it is now stored in much less secure temporary repositories. If nobody wants it, we are available ”.
Pane’s offer was ignored, as were the hundreds of comments received by Sogin during the public consultation phase with associations, committees and local authorities: “The seminar was a total farce managed autarchically by Sogin, who was a judge of herself. If they don’t explain the reasons why they didn’t accept our criticisms, then what kind of seminar did they do? ”Asks Di Giorgio.
Silence fell during the election campaign on the national deposit. L’Essenziale tried several times to contact Sogin and the ministry of ecological transition, but received no response: “You do your job, I do mine. They are classified documents ”, they explain from the press office of the National Inspectorate for Nuclear Safety (Isin), which in a few days will deliver to the ministry its opinion on the proposal for a National Charter of suitable areas received by Sogin.
At that point the ministry of ecological transition, in agreement with the ministry of infrastructure and transport, will have to approve the final version of the Cnai. Then a new phase of consultations with regions and local authorities will open, which will have to show an interest that has never been there so far. According to Pane the epilogue is already written: “Everything will remain as it is. The law says that without expressions of interest, the government can make an imperial decree. But I have yet to find the politician who takes such a responsibility. And then he knows what they say: in Italy nothing is more definitive than what is temporary ”.