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August 4, 2009

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Italy's Enel launches nuclear power JV

THE Italian energy company Enel has formed a joint venture with France's EdF to develop nuclear energy in Italy, the companies said in a joint statement yesterday.

The companies billed the move "as the first substantial step" toward establishing nuclear plants in Italy following the approval of an Italian law last month allowing a return to nuclear energy more than two decades after voters shut down the country's reactors.

The new Enel/EdF joint venture, called Italy Nuclear Development, will run feasibility studies for the construction of at least four nuclear reactors in Italy, which individual companies would then build and operate.

The reactors would be the so-called third generation European Pressurized Reactor or EPR variety, which is meant to eventually replace aging reactors around the world whose designs date from decades ago.

"The creation of this joint venture lays the ground for a concrete comeback of the nuclear plant in Italy and represents a unique opportunity for contributing to the recovery of the country's economy, creating specialized jobs and increasing employment," Enel's CEO Fulvio Conti said in a statement.

"In the past few years Enel has been able to rebuild the nuclear skills and expertise, thanks to its international operations and we are now ready to take the lead of the Italian nuclear program in cooperation with EdF, a world key player in this industry," Conti said.


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