Issue No.11 Winter
(January 2006)


ENS News

Frank Deconick: A profile of the new man at the ENS helm

Tapping unusual quarters

ENS Events

Etrap 2005

PIME 2006

RRFM 2006

ENA 2006

Member Societies & Corporate Members

Modernizing Romanian Nuclear Education and Traning Systems

In Memoriam: Professor Carlo Salvetti (1919 – 2005)

European nuclear community mourns loss of Armen Abagyan

European Institutions

Changes in DG TREN + DG RTD

Austrian Presidency reveals its energy policy

ENS World News

COP 11 & COP/MOP 1

Country profile: Bulgaria

NucNet News

ENS Members

Links to ENS Member Societies

Links to ENS Corporate Members

Editorial staff

RRFM 2006RRFM 2006

RRFM 2006
30 April - 3 May 2006 in Sofia, Bulgaria
































In Memoriam: Professor Carlo Salvetti
(1919 – 2005)

In February last year, the European nuclear community lost one of its most respected and distinguished friends. Professor Carlo Salvetti sadly passed away on 11 February, aged 86, while still serving as Vice President of the Italian Nuclear Socity (AIN – Associazione Itliana Nucleare). ENS NEWS would like to pay tribute to the inestimable contribution that Carlo made during a lifetime spent furthering the cause of nuclear science and the nuclear industry in Italy. The best possible way of paying tribute to Carlo, his contribution and his legacy, is to give the final word to those who knew him best. Enrico Mainardi and Ugo Spezia, two members of AIN and ENS, take an affectionate look back at the life and times of one of Italy’s leading nuclear pioneers and a redoubtable supporter of the nuclear industry. Their story begins in 1945, the day after the first nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Enrico and Ugo take up the story……

Carlo Salvetti

Professor Carlo Salvetti

“The day after the first nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan, Girogio Valerio and Vittorio De Basi - President and Managing Director of Edison - asked Mario Silvestri to investigate the possible future development of nuclear energy. Sivestri was joined by Professor Giuseppe Bolla and his two young assistants, Giorgio Salvini and a 27-year ole researcher called Carlo Salvetti. In the spring of 1946, Salvini and Salvetti proposed a three-step research programme. The first step was to create a group of research experts. The next step was to build a zero-power atomic battery, like the one CP-1 developed by Fermi, in Chicago, in 1942. The final step was to build a mini reactor, “made in Italy.”

At that time, the peace treaty that put a final end to World War II was being finalized in Paris. In September 1946, Bolla, Silvestri, Salvini and Salvetti set off for Paris to find out whether, among the numerous clauses of the peace treaty there was anything that prohibited the development – for peaceful purposes - of nuclear. The four colleagues had no official mandate for being there and didn’t know who to speak to. Silvestri decided, for want of a better alternative, to contact a journalist he knew at the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, which was accredited to the official Italian delegation to the Paris peace treaty negotiations. The journalist put them into contact with a member of the Italian delegation, Ivanoe Bonomi, the ex-Prime Minister of Italy. The ‘group of four” visited Bonomi. Although Bonomi knew very little about what they were talking, he gave them a copy of the draft peace treaty. The treaty revealed that the Belgian delegation had insisted that a clause forbidding the military use of nuclear be included. The four Italian researchers told Bonomi to adopt a low profile on this point and only to discuss it if the intention was to forbid nuclear was extended to include peaceful applications of nuclear energy.

Once back in Italy, our four intrepid researchers lobbied the management of Edisonvolta and persuaded them that investing in nuclear would be a good business move. As a result, a special research company called CISE (Center for Information, Study and Expermentation) was formed, in Milan, in November 1946. Carlo Salvetti later recalled “I thought at the time that it was better not to reveal too much about what we were doing.”

The creation of CISE was the first step in the development a nuclear industry in Italy and it was private industry that started the ball rolling. Originally, three private companies were involved in creating the fledgling industry, Edisonvolta, FIAT and Cogne. Four more companies later joined the enterprise, Montecatini, the power generating company SADE (Societa Adriatica d’Elettricita), Pirelli and Falck.

From the outset, CISE was able to enlist the support of eminent physicists like Edoardo Amaldi (part of a Roman team led by Fermi), Gilberto Bernardini and Bruno Ferretti. Amaldi, Bernardini, Ferretti were joined on the Board of Directors of the newly-formed CISE by De Biasi and Gustavo Colonetti, president of the CNR (National research Centre). Unfiortunately, the CNR were not able to support the venture with funds for research. The final piece in the CISE jigsaw puzzle was the hiring of Felice Ippolito, a geologist who specialized in minerals. Ippolito brought with him the support of the steel company Terni, which was chaired by his father, and of the power generating companyr SME (Societa Meridionale d’Elettricita).

In 1952, the CNRN (the National Committee for Nuclear Research) was created. The CNRN then became known as the CNEN (the National Committee for Nuclear Energy). Finally, the CNEN became known as ENEA (Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie, l'Energia el'Ambiente). Prior to 1952, CISE was the only Italian research institute dedicated to the advancement of nuclear technologies and to the development of a genuinely independent nuclear research programme.

In 1957, anticipating the lack of funding that was inevitably going to affect CISE and limit its chances of developing nuclear technology, Carlo Salvetti decided to join the CNRN. Carlo was responsible for developing the Ispra Nuclear Centre and became its first Director General. Ispra later became part of Euratom and remains today one of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre facilities. Carlo was against the move from the start and strongly criticized the “handing over” of Ispra to Euratom.


In 1959, Carlo was named Director of Research and Laboratories at the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in Vienna. From 1962-1970, he was Governor of the Italian delegation to the IAEA and President of the Governors’ Council from 1963-1964.

Carlo Salvetti was then elected Vice president of the CNEN and entrusted with the job of rebuilding the organization. From 1963-1980, Carlo worked tirelessly at the CNEN. The President of the CNEN was also the Italian government’s Minister for Industry. Italy invested strongly in nuclear energy and these were undoubtedly the halcyon days of the Italian nuclear industry.

Professor Carlo Salvetti devoted sixty years of his life to the cause of nuclear research and to the development of the Italian nuclear industry and was still active when he died, in February last year. Thanks to his enormous contribution, a whole generation of physicists and nuclear engineers has been nurtured and trained. This is part of his enduring his legacy. His pioneering spirit, enthusiasm and dedication made him a unique figure in post-war Italian research.

Before he died, Carlo learnt that the current Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berluscone, had advised that the nuclear debate in Italy should be reopened after years of stagnation following the Chernobyl-inspired moratorium on nuclear energy. He must have thought “about time too…too little too late.”
To say that Carlo will be sorely missed is an understatement of nuclear proportions.


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