Last sunday at 3:20 am , there was a nationwide blackout in Italy due to a disconnection in the powerline that imports electricity from France. A blackout at night might seem strange especially when the consumption of electricity during nights is half of the total national electricity production. In fact at that time most of Italian power planet were shut down because Italy prefers to import electricity instead of producing it, due to economical reasons. It was not clear to me, why they import electricity at all? Can't they build a nuclear power plant and produce cheap electricity?
The answer to these questions goes back to 16 years ago. Italy used to be the third most developed country in terms of nuclear energy in the 1960s, after the US and the UK. In 1987 Italy had four fully functional nuclear power plants plus many more under construction. Also they had all related necessary organizations including training centers, research institutes such as INFN and companies like Ansaldo to produce nuclear devices and instruments. Therefore, they were almost independent. After the Chernobyl disaster, people voted to shut down all nuclear power plants because of their high level of risk. Now Italy is the only G8 country that does not have any nuclear plant and has to import electricity from French nuclear plants that are near the Italian border. This is the way Italian people think about the nuclear energy.