IAEA Successfully Accomplished ARTEMIS Mission to Italy

An Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Remediation (ARTEMIS) review team concluded a ten-day mission to Italy on 10 October. The review was carried out at the request and hosted by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security (‘MASE’).

The International Atomic Energy Agency team, made of six international experts and three IAEA staff members, engaged with representatives of MASE, the National Inspectorate for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ISIN), and the Italian state-owned company responsible for the decommissioning of Italian nuclear plants and the management of radioactive waste, SOGIN, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development (ENEA) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) Ispra.

ARTEMIS reviews provide independent expert assessments, which can cover all aspects and topics related to managing radioactive waste and spent fuel, decommissioning and remediation. Reviews are based on the IAEA Safety Standards, technical guidance, and international good practices.

The ARTEMIS review team, focusing on the country’s plans for radioactive waste management, concluded that Italy is aware of the challenges of safely managing the country’s radioactive waste and is committed to addressing them.

Italy’s radioactive waste management responsibilities arise from decommissioning four nuclear power reactors and facilities from the country’s former nuclear power programme. The country also manages radioactive waste from the operation of five research reactors, research laboratories and experimental facilities and from activities in medicine, industry and other uses.

Italy currently stores waste at temporary storage sites near decommissioned nuclear power reactors and other nuclear facilities. It plans to establish a national repository comprised of a near-surface disposal facility for very low-level and low-level waste, centralized storage for intermediate-level and high-level waste as well as a technology research park. The search for a suitable site is underway.

The team identified areas for improvements, including a formal approval for the national radioactive waste management programme, the development of a Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) programme clearly linked to supporting implementation of the national programme, and the consideration of international experience in resource planning.

The review also acknowledged Italy’s comprehensive training and development programmes for nuclear professionals as a good practice.

Read the full IAEA Press Release.