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Edison and Ansaldo join forces with EDF to develop next-gen nuclear plants

The Italian energy companies signed a letter of intent with the French behemoth to cooperate on the development of nuclear power in Europe, Italy included, especially in the field of small modular reactors

Going nuclear. On Monday, Italian energy company Edison announced it had signed a letter of intent with Ansaldo Energia, Ansaldo Nucleare and EDF to collaborate on developing nuclear power in Europe and promote its deployment in Italy, specifically by investigating the field of small modular reactors (SMRs).

  • On the one hand, this cooperation allows for leveraging the Italian nuclear expertise, embodied and led by Ansaldo Nucleare, to support the development of EDF Group’s new nuclear projects.
  • On the other, the companies also strive to “open a debate on the possible role of new nuclear power in Italy’s energy transition […] given the growing need for energy security and independence of the Italian electricity system.”

Boosting the energy transition. Nuclear power, reads the company note, can complement renewable sources by guaranteeing stable, low-carbon baseload power, thus contributing to the environmental sustainability of the electricity system. That’s no small contribution, considering Europe’s and Italy’s ambitious decarbonisation targets that set 2050 as the deadline for achieving climate neutrality.

  • “Indeed, nuclear power is one of the best energy sources in terms of low carbon dioxide emissions, ensures reduced land footprint per unit of installed capacity and guarantees optimal production programmability.”
  • SMRs especially “boast high safety features, require limited investments, and can be used to produce both electricity and heat, thereby meeting the needs of the energy system and territories in a flexible way.”

The CEOs speak. Nicola Monti, CEO of Edison, stated the four companies “are laying the foundations for a concrete and open reflection on the role of new nuclear power in supporting Italy’s energy transition. The new nuclear power is complementary to the development of renewable sources and can represent a concrete solution to support the objectives of carbon neutrality by 2050, contributing to the energy independence of the European system.”

  • Ansaldo CEO Giuseppe Marino highlighted the group’s “wealth of expertise” and “excellence” in the field of nuclear power, while Ansaldo Nucleare’s Riccardo Casale noted its ability to maintain said expertise alive after the shutdown of all Italian power plants. “Our company is strongly committed to this mission and actively involved in numerous projects in various European countries,” he added.
  • EDF’s Vakis Ramany, on his part, stated the company’s “ambition to promote international partnerships to implement a portfolio of nuclear technologies to support Europe towards its net zero objectives. We are convinced of the interest in strengthening cooperation with Italian industry.”

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