Italy : WikiLeaks – nuclear industry corruption
18 March 2011
In the wake of the emotion prompted by the Fukushima nuclear accident, and at a time when the Italian government appears to be reluctant to implement a policy of redeploying nuclear power (phased out following a referendum in 1987), L'Espresso publishes a series of American diplomatic cables that reveal how "bribes could have a major impact on the future of the country’s energy industry." The documents obtained by WikiLeaks provide details of a four-year US campaign, which began in 2005, to encourage Italy to redeploy nuclear power with a view to reducing its energy dependence on Russia and limiting the influence of the partnership between Italian energy company ENI and Russia’s Gazprom. To this end, Washington fought a prolonged battle with the French nuclear power specialist EDF-Areva in which it took advantage of its close ties with several Italian companies. In the end, writes L'Espresso, the American lobbyists succeeded in convincing Rome to set aside EU safety standards for new power stations and to adopt more flexible OECD norms – a victory for US industry, "obtained at the expense of the safety of the Italian people."