- Title: ITALY: Italy and France begin bilateral summit in Rome
- Date: 25th February 2009
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (FEBRUARY 24, 2009) (REUTERS) GUARD OF HONOUR ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER SILVIO BERLUSCONI WELCOMING FRENCH PRESIDENT NICHOLAS SARKOZY VARIOUS OF BERLUSCONI AND SARKOZY REVIEWING SHAKIING HANDS AND STANDING FOR REVIEW OF GUARD OF HONOUR
- Embargoed: 12th March 2009 12:00
- Location: Italy
- Country: Italy
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA9ZCQ9STUKAE7878FMFIOP02O5
- Story Text: Italy and France hold bilateral summit due to produce a deal on nuclear cooperation.
Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and French president Nicholas Sarkozy held a bilateral summit in Rome on Tuesday (February 24) aimed at producing a deal of nuclear cooperation between the two countries.
Italy, the only one of the Group of Eight's industrialized countries without nuclear power, wants to revive its nuclear energy industry with the help of France, Europe's leader in the field.
Italy voted in a referendum in November 1987 to shut down existing nuclear plants and impose a moratorium on new ones, following the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986.
Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right government has been calling for a nuclear renaissance since Berlusconi returned to power in April 2008, but its needs to overcome strong public opposition to nuclear power.
Berlusconi, who enjoys a comfortable parliamentary majority, wants to build four new generation nuclear reactors in the next ten years.
Supporters say that Italy needs nuclear energy to ease its 80-85 percent dependence on fuel imports.
Volatility in oil prices and the clash between Russia and Ukraine over gas pipelines has highlighted how risky Europe's energy sources can be, making nuclear power -- with virtually zero carbon dioxide emissions -- a more attractive option.
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