Oil Report

Italy Greens leak sensitive nuclear site list

ROME, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Italy's Green Party leaked on Tuesday the names of potential nuclear power sites it claims Enel ENEI.MI has identified -- information that could spark strong local resistance to nuclear renaissance plans.

Italy, which abandoned nuclear energy after a referendum in 1987, aims to reintroduce nuclear power to cut energy bills, diversify its fuel mix and reduce carbon emissions.

The centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi has said it aims to generate about 25 percent of its power from nuclear sources but has yet to identify the sites for the plants.

Public opinion has been generally hostile to nuclear energy and with local authorities having a crucial say in the approval of industrial projects the worry is that nuclear plans could be obstructed once the sites have been named.

On Sunday, Enel Chief Executive Fulvio Conti was quoted by newspapers as saying he would not name the sites “even under torture”, leaving any such announcement to the government.

Angelo Bonelli, president of Italy’s anti-nuclear Green Party, said on Tuesday that Enel had handed a list of potential nuclear power sites to the Industry Ministry.

“Through industry ministry sources we have seen the list and now the file is in the hands of (Industry) Minister (Claudio) Scajola,” Bonelli told Reuters.

Enel denied the claim. “No list has been forwarded to the government,” a spokesman for the company told Reuters on Tuesday.

According to a note from the Green Party, the sites on the list -- which it attributed to Enel -- include Montalto di Castro, Borgo Sabotino, Garigliano, Trino Vercellese, Caorso, Oristano, Palma and Monfalcone.

The industry ministry was not immediately reachable to comment.

Italy, the only Group of Eight industrialised nation without nuclear power, aims to rebuild the sector and produce 25 percent of power from nuclear plants.

Enel and France's EDF EDF.PA have plans to construct four nuclear plants in Italy.

Reporting by Stefano Bernabei; editing by Elaine Hardcastle