It has been around Italy for a few days Oliver Stone. He came to promote his latest documentary. Is called Nuclear Now, Nuclear Now! And it is a powerful manifesto that invites us to rethink our no to nuclear energy, to conquer our fears, he says. (The documentary begins with a beautiful quote from Marie Curie who said: “In life we must not be afraid of anything, we only have to understand”; and who continues “now is the time to understand more to be less afraid”). Oliver Stone is one of the great directors of our time, he has made important and courageous films; and we can say that he has never been afraid to challenge our beliefs. His latest work, before this one on nuclear power, is a very long interview with Vladimir Putin, so long that Netflix had to divide it into four episodes. When I saw it, Putin had recently invaded Ukraine and I thought (and think) all the bad things possible about the Russian leader, but the interview was interesting, it forced me to put myself in the other’s mind, to understand the point of sight of him.
The same happens with the nuclear Now. Which as you know it was banned in Italy following two popular referendums. Now we are talking about it again – in Italy, around the world and at COP28 in Dubai – because technology has evolved a lot since the Chernobyl disaster (the reactors have become smaller and much safer); and because nuclear energy does not emit CO2 and therefore can contribute to the decarbonisation necessary for climate change together with renewable sources (sun and wind). As usual, it is up to science to demonstrate that the progress made in terms of safety and waste disposal is worth the risk and necessary investments (the opinion of science is always valid, not only when it confirms our prejudices); and I have the feeling that with nuclear power we will still have to deal with all those sectors that need a lot of energy (I’m thinking of steel mills and factories in general).
We’ll see it in a few years. And yet already now we can transform our homes into energy communities, small domestic power plants that produce solar energy. After a year of examination, the European Union has finally approved the Italian decree. We start in January and this could indeed be a revolution: the buildings (not in the historic center), the public buildings (such as schools and hospitals) and the houses can produce energy and eliminate bill costs fighting energy poverty.
This is why I would reply to Oliver Stone: Nuclear, perhaps, tomorrow, energy communities immediately!