Albania may host nuclear power plant for Italy: report

Friday, May 30, 2008

ROME, May 29 (AFP) May 29, 2008 Albania is prepared to host a nuclear power plant for Italy, which decided last week to reverse a 20-year ban on the energy source, the Italian press
reported on Thursday.

"With the Italian government, we will finance the construction of a plant in Albania," Albanian President Sali Berisha told the leading daily Corriere della Sera.

"There's an Italian group that came to discuss the possibility of building a plant in Albania," he said, adding that no site had been selected and he had not yet spoken to the new right-wing government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, elected last month.

Berlusconi's government announced on May 22 that it would begin building nuclear power stations by the end of its five-year mandate, an initiative that is likely to meet with stiff resistance.

Italians voted to abandon nuclear power in a 1987 referendum following the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986. The country's four nuclear plants operating at the time were shut down.

"The last (government) was anti-nuclear," Berisha said of Romano Prodi's centre-left coalition, adding: "But with Berlusconi everything's changed."

Albania does not yet have any nuclear plants of its own, but Berisha said Tirana was working towards a normative framework with the International Atomic Energy Agency to be permitted to build them.

Italy imports 87 percent of its energy needs. Oil accounts for most consumption at 43 percent, followed by natural gas at 36 percent.

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