Italy's Sogin to speed up nuclear decomissioning

Friday, September 19, 2008

MILAN, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Italy's nuclear decommissioning company Sogin will invest 490 million euros ($711 million) under its new 2008-2012 business plan to speed up decommissioning of power stations, part of Italy's ban on nuclear power.

Sogin's new plan comes as Italy, which rejected nuclear power in a referendum in 1987 after the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, debates the possibility of a nuclear energy revival to help offset rising oil costs and the emission of greenhouse gases.

Sogin said in a statement late on Thursday it aimed to complete 51 percent of decommissioning by 2012. That compared with a 37 percent target set for 2011 under a previous plan which saw 400 million euros invested in 2007-2011.

Sogin said it had completed 8 percent of the work by the end of 2007.

The company said it would reduce costs and improve efficiency with measures including cutting jobs to slightly less than 600 in 2012 from 727 at the end of 2007.

'2008 will be a turnaround year for decommissioning in Italy. We will do between three and four times as much work as we have done on average in the past few years and will further reduce operating costs,' Sogin's Chief Executive Massimo Romano said in the statement.

Sogin was set up to carry out the decommissioning of Italy's four nuclear stations with a total capacity of about 1,400 megawatts which started in early 2000s.

Under the original plan, Italy was expected to complete the decommissioning by 2024. The total cost of closing down the nuclear sector -- including decommissioning, fuel management, maintenance and safety -- was set at 4.4 billion euros.

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