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Enel CEO makes case for nuclear in Italy - paper

FRANKFURT, April 21 (Reuters) - Italy should reconsider its opposition to nuclear power to reduce energy costs, the chief executive of Italian utility Enel ENEI.MI told a newspaper a week after Silvio Berlusconi was elected prime minister.

“The resurgence of interest in atomic energy gives us another important chance to address our infrastructure and to reduce our energy costs,” Fulvio Conti told the Financial Times Deutschland in an interview published on Monday.

The nuclear-friendly Berlusconi won his third Italian election last week with a bigger-than-expected swing to the centre right after two years in opposition.

“We are in a position to present such a project. It would take seven to 10 years until a new nuclear plant could begin operating,” said Conti. “Enel is certainly competent to develop such facilities together with experts and to run them.”

Italy, the only one of the Group of Eight industrialised nations without nuclear power, voted in a referendum in 1987 to shut down existing nuclear plants and impose a moratorium on new ones in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986.

Conti said Enel had not yet identified a possible site to build a nuclear plant. “But it would in any case be dangerous to name names now -- there’d be a revolution,” he said.

He said, however, that he had no interest in buying British nuclear power operator British Energy BGY.L and was concentrating on continental Europe. "We're far away from that battle," he said.

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