The first Italian researcher to mention the possibility of producing energy by breaking atomic nuclei was Enrico Fermi. Fermi was appointed as professor of theoretical physics at the University of Rome in 1926. Backed by Orso Mario Corbino, who was at that time Director of the University’s Physics Institute, in 1927 and 1928 he assembled a group of young and brilliant researchers. During his term as Minister for the Economy, Corbino established a special office for the supply of radioactive substances. The Radium Office (as it was then called) was located in the rooms of the Physics Institute of the University of Rome, and was directed by Corbino’s former assistant Giulio Cesare Trabacchi. Research in nuclear physics underwent significant changes in the mid-1930s, with the introduction of the new early particle accelerators. To keep their lead, the group in Rome had to upgrade their experimental equipment. In 1936, Corbino and Fermi started drawing up plans to establish a facility equipped with a particle accelerator. In 1938 Fermi was formally told that adequate funding would not be granted; in addition, since his wife Laura was Jewish, his family was directly affected by the anti-Semitic legislation passed by the Italian government. The Fermi group vanished. To make a long story short, in 1945 the CNR created a research center in the Physics Institute in Rome, the Centro per lo studio della fisica nucleare e delle particelle elementari. In 1946, Amaldi gained the support of Fiat to create a laboratory for the study of cosmic rays located by the Rome group at the Testa Grigia peak, in the Alps near mount Cervino. In November 1946 Salvini, Salvetti, Silvestri and Bolla led to the establishment of a research company (Centro Informazioni Studi ed Esperienze, CISE) where the largest Italian industrial groups, some of them state-owned, potentially interested in the development of the nuclear industry, became associated, and cooperated with academic researchers from universities and the CNR. Governmental recognition came in June 26, 1952, with the establishment (as a special committee of the CNR) of the Comitato Nazionale per le Ricerche Nucleari (CNRN), which was the outcome of economic, academic and political negotiations that had been going on behind the scenes for six years. By the end of the 1950s, the US attitude to the Italian nuclear program, which had been very positive after the take-off of the Atoms for Peace program, became covertly hostile. The reasons for this shift have been the object of much speculation, but only recently have they been investigated by academic research. No consensus has been reached yet. In 1963-1964, shortly after the electric nationalization, Ippolito was involved in alleged mismanagement of State funding to the CNRN-CNEN. The subsequent “affair” slowed the pace of Italy’s nuclear program, with only one nuclear plant being built since then, in 1980: and this was the last one. Moreover, from the early 1970s, “green” movements appeared on the Italian political scene, first rallying against hydroelectric power plants, then against nuclear ones. When a new start of the Italian nuclear program took place in 2008, it was first hindered by conflicts between its prospective actors, and then definitely stopped, in 2011, by the negative reactions to the Fukushima accident, followed by a new referendum.
|Titolo:||Nuclear energy and science policy in post-war Italy|
PAOLONI, Giovanni (Corresponding author)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||02a Capitolo o Articolo|