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Nuclear waste storage in Scanzano Jonico, Italy


Italy started its nuclear power program in the early 60s and closed it in 1987, when a referendum decided to close all the national nuclear power plants (some attempts made by the Government to complete the construction of the Montalto di Castro plant were stopped by a Parliamentary Motion on June 12, 1990). The Italian Government, while building its power plants, promoted agreements with other countries with the aim to send and reprocess the radioactive waste abroad.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Nuclear waste storage in Scanzano Jonico, Italy
State or province:Province of Matera, Basilicata Region
Location of conflict:Scanzano Jonico
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Nuclear waste storage
Specific commodities:Uranium
Industrial waste
Anthropogenic radionuclides: 55Fe, 60Co, 59Ni, 39Ar, 94Nb, 3H, 14C, 41Ca, 152Eu, 154Eu, 241Am, 238Pu, 239Pu, 240Pu, 242Cm, 244Cm, 233U, 234U, 235U, 238U, 232Th, 237Np
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The storage site identified was an underground geological structure made by clay and rock salt, at a depth of 900m. It should have hosted the 90,000m3 of 2’ and 3’ category Italian radioactive waste, coming from the dismantling of the nuclear power plants, from research activities and health uses. The fulfilment of this task was entrusted to SOGIN SpA, that should have completed it by 2008. In a first stage (about 8 months), the site’s geological suitability should have been evaluated. Then the Ministry of Environment, together with ISPRA (ex APAT), should have approved the VIA (Environmental Impact Evaluation) and finally the construction site should have been opened. Nevertheless, the protests have stopped works.

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Project area:1.2 hectares on the surface and 1,000 hectares of mining lease
Level of Investment:1,247,340,000.00 USD (estimated cost).
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:41,000 (Inhabitants of the Municipalities of Scanzano Jonico, Policoro, Metaponto, Marconia, Pisticci, , Montalbano Jonico)
Start of the conflict:11/03/2003
Company names or state enterprises:SOGIN company from Italy
Relevant government actors:Italian Government (S. Berlusconi as President of the Council of Ministries), Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of the Environment, Municipality of Scanzano Jonico, Basilicata Region, ISPRA (Superior Institute for Environmental Protection and Research), ENEA (Energy and Environment National Body)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:“ScanZiamo le Scorie” committee (see Facebook), “Cittadinanzattiva” association ( Legambiente Basilicata ( Lega italiana Protezione Uccelli ( , labor unions CGIL and UIL, Italian Greenpeace section (, WWF (
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Informal workers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsLarge-scale radioactivity contamination of soil and hydrological resources (see Web links [1-5])
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsVarious biological effects such as genetic damages and tumor outbreaks (see Web links [5-7])
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:It has been a case in which the Italian population united to fight against an unfair measure, finally forcing the political system to take note. The people's protests were numerous from the beginning of the national nuclear program as seen in the opposition to the building of nuclear power plants and to the transport of nuclear waste. The success of the Scanzano Jonico mobilization forced the government (despite a history of high social oppression during the terms of S. Berlusconi) to keep in mind that health and environmental rights, along with public participation to environmental planning, are essential rights.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

{4} Sentence no. 62/2005 of the Constitution Court
[click to view]

{2} Council Directive 2011/70/EURATOM
[click to view]

{5} Legislative Decree 45 of March 4, 2014
[click to view]

{1} Decree Law 314 of November 13, 2003
[click to view]

{3} Law 368 of December 24, 2003:
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

I giorni di Scanzano; Rossella Montemurro;
[click to view]

Nucleare: a chi conviene?; Gianni Mattioli, Massimo Scalia; Edizioni Ambiente; 2010

State of the art on the problems of environmental monitoring of radioactive deposits in accordance with international standards and implementation of the same in guidelines; ENEA, 2011
[click to view]

Fragole e Uranio: Scanzano Jonico, storia di una rivolta; Pasquale Stigliani; Palomar 2008

L’eredità del nucleare in Italia; Roberto Meregalli; I Quaderni di Energia Felice, 3; 2014

{6} Technical Guide no.29: Unique Storage Site localization guidelines; ISPRA, 2014
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[5] Wikipedia – Radioactive pollution:
[click to view]

[6] Princeton università – Scientific article:
[click to view]

Website related to ScanZiamo le Scorie committee:
[click to view]

[7] biological effects of ionizing radiation:
[click to view]

[4] Wikipedia - Nuclear energy’s environmental impact:
[click to view]

1] Michigan University website – Radioactive waste:
[click to view]

Pollution Issues – Radioactive waste:
[click to view]

Greenpeace India – Radioactive waste:
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[click to view]

Video 3
[click to view]

Materials set up by ScanZiamo le Scorie committee, taken from

in the section: “news and multimedia”:

[click to view]

Materials set up by ScanZiamo le Scorie committee, taken from
[click to view]

Materials set up by ScanZiamo le Scorie committee, taken from
[click to view]

Materials set up by ScanZiamo le Scorie committee, taken from
[click to view]

Materials set up by ScanZiamo le Scorie committee, taken from
[click to view]

Video 2
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Ivano Lonigro ([email protected]), CDCA
Last update18/12/2014
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