"All'Italia mazzette sull'atomo"
- MAZZETTE ALLA FRANCESE -
In un cablo segreto spedito a Washington, l'ambasciatore americano
rivela che 'alti ufficiali' dell'esecutivo di Berlusconi
avrebbero preso tangenti per comprare tecnologie e centrali francesi
18 marzo 2011 Stefania Maurizi

All'inizio è solo un timore, poi si trasforma in più di un sospetto: la rinascita del nucleare in Italia è condizionata
dalle tangenti. Un'ipotesi circostanziata, messa nero su bianco in un rapporto del 2009 per il ministro dell'Energia di Obama,
Steven Chu; negli oltre quattromila cablo dell'ambasciata americana di Roma la parola corruzione compare pochissime
volte e in termini generici, quando invece si parla delle nuove centrali da costruire, allora i documenti trasmessi
a Washington diventano espliciti, tratteggiando uno scenario in cui sono le mazzette a decidere il destino energetico italiano.

Nel momento in cui il devastante terremoto giapponese obbliga il mondo a fare i conti con i rischidegli impianti
e lo spettro di una colossale contaminazione, i documenti ottenuti da WikiLeaks che "l'Espresso"pubblica
in esclusiva permettono di ricostruire la guerra nucleare segreta che da sei anni viene combattuta in Italia.

Uno scontro di Stati prima ancora che di aziende, per mettere le mani su opere che valgono almeno 24 miliardi di euro
e segneranno il futuro di generazioni. Francesi, russi e americani si danno battaglia su una scacchiera dove si confondono
interessi industriali, politici e diplomatici: cercano contatti nel governo, nei ministeri, nei partiti e nelle aziende.
Per riuscire a conquistare quello che appare il mercato più ricco d'Europa.
E lo fanno - secondo i dossier statunitensi - senza esclusione di colpi.

LA FENICE ATOMICA
Gli americani cominciano a muoversi nel 2005, quando con una certa sorpresa scoprono che l'energia nucleare
sta risorgendo dalle ceneri del referendum del 1987. Per gli Usa si tratta di un'occasione unica: lo strumento
per allontanare l'Italia dalla dipendenza nei confronti del gas russo, l'arma più potente nelle mani di Vladimir Putin.
La questione diventa quindi "prioritaria" per l'ambasciata di Roma, che si muove verso due obiettivi: convincere i politici
a concretizzare il programma atomico e far entrare nella partita i colossi americani del settore. Complici il prezzo sempre
più alto degli idrocarburi, i rincari delle bollette e le promesse di sicurezza dei reattori più avanzati, gli italiani sembrano
sempre meno ostili al nucleare. E il governo di Silvio Berlusconi non mostra dubbi su questa scelta.
Più difficile - scrivono nel 2005 - convincere il centrosinistra che "si oppone largamente all'idea. Comunque, i nostri contatti
sostengono che, anche se dovesse tornare al governo, il rinnovato impegno dell'Italia nei programmi nucleari non si fermerà".

La componente verde della maggioranza di Romano Prodi si oppone a ogni programma. Il ministro Pier Luigi Bersani
invece apre alle sollecitazioni statunitensi e nel 2007 spiega all'ambasciatore che "l'Italia non è fuori dalla produzione
di energia nucleare, l'ha solo sospesa", per poi riconoscere che "carbone pulito e nucleare probabilmente giocheranno
un ruolo importante nell'assicurare i bisogni del futuro". Lo stesso Bersani che in questi giorni, dopo la crisi nipponica,
è stato pronto a condannare "il piano nucleare del governo".

Lo scontro più feroce però è quello che avviene per costruire i futuri impianti: almeno sei centrali, ciascuna del costo 4miliardi. Si schierano aziende-Stato, che sono diretta emanazione dei governi e godono dell'appoggio di diplomazie e servizi segreti.
In pole position i francesi di Areva, quasi monopolisti nel Vecchio continente dove hanno aperto gli unici cantieri per reattori
di ultima generazione: hanno 58 mila dipendenti e 10 miliardi di fatturato l'anno. E anche i russi, che nonostante Chernobyl continuano a esportare reattori in Asia, cercano di partecipare alla spartizione della torta. Negli Usa ci sono Westinghouse
e General Electric che "sono interessate a vendere tecnologia nucleare all'Italia, ma si trovano a dover affrontare una dura competizione da parte di rivali stranieri i cui governi stanno facendo una pesante azione di lobbying sul governo italiano".
 

Maggio 2009, la diplomazia Usa prepara il viaggio a Roma del ministro per l'energia Steven Chu.
Che viene messo in guardia: vendere tecnologia atomica in Italia è complesso perchè
"è possibile che i francesi facciano affari grazie a tangenti versate ad alti ufficiali dell'esecutivo" di Berlusconi
"Tangenti al governo italiano per fare le centrali atomiche"
CODICE DATA CLASSIFICAZIONE FONTE
  09ROME558    20/05/2009   CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN   Embassy Rome 
VZCZCXRO9669
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHRO #0558/01 1400819
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 200819Z MAY 09 ZFD
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2090
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHSS/OECD POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 4560
RUEHFL/AMCONSUL FLORENCE PRIORITY 3631
RUEHMIL/AMCONSUL MILAN PRIORITY 0043
RUEHNP/AMCONSUL NAPLES PRIORITY 3820
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY 4822

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ROME 000558 

NOFORN 
SIPDIS 

FOR ENERGY SECRETARY CHU 
DOE ALSO FOR A/S DAVID SANDALOW 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/20/2019 
TAGS: ENRG, EPET, OVIP, PREL, IR, RU, IT 

SUBJECT: G8 ENERGY MINISTERIAL: SCENESETTER FOR ENERGY 
SECRETARY CHU'S MAY 23 - 25 VISIT TO ROME 

REF: A) ROME 283 B) 08 ROME 451 C) ROME 506 D) ROME 508 

ROME 00000558 001.4 OF 003 

Classified By: CHARGE ELIZABETH DIBBLE FOR REASONS 1.4 B AND D 

1. (C/NF) Summary: Your 23-25 May visit to Rome will provide opportunities to interact with senior Italian officials on priority USG energy issues. On European energy security, Italy's very close relationship with Russia often causes it to resist efforts to reduce dependence on Russian energy sources. We hope you can urge a broader reevaluation of energy sources and technologies. In particular, Italy's decision to return to nuclear power will -- if carried out -- reduce this dependence; you should raise worrisome indications that U.S. firms will be unfairly denied the opportunity to participate in this multi-billion dollar project. Italy is a laggard in the EU on the use of renewable energy, but its market may grow the most in the 
near future. You can support the use of U.S. technology in this area. Italy's parastatal energy company Eni is active 
in Iran and wants to expand its operation in that country; the USG is strongly opposed to this expansion of ""business as usual"" at a time when Iran is continuing its own nuclear program in defiance of UN and IAEA requirements that it sustpend enrichment activities. 

2. (C/NF) Because of the strong influence of organized crime, Italian seaports are vulnerable to use for the 
shipment of illicit nuclear materials. DOE's Megaports program could significantly reduce this threat, but at least two USG efforts to launch Megaports in Italy have faltered owing to Italian red tape. We would like to make another big push on this high USG priority, and your intervention could be critical in getting high-level Italian support for this effort. End Summary. 

INTERACTION WITH ITALIAN POLICY MAKERS 
------------------------------------- 

3. (C/NF) During the 23-25 May 2009 G8 Energy Ministerial in Rome, you will have at least one bilateral meeting with 
Claudio Scajola, the Italian cabinet minister with responsibility for energy affairs. This meeting, and other potential side meetings with Italian officials during the Ministerial are key opportunities to press a number of top USG energy concerns with the Berlusconi government. 

EUROPEAN ENERGY SECURITY 
----------------------- 

4. (C/NF) Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's close personal ties with Vladimir Putin and the very strong corporate ties 
between Italian energy parastatal ENI and Russia's Gazprom often put Italy squarely at odds with USG efforts to reduce 
Europe's dependence on Russian energy. That dependence has been reflected in Italian policy vis--vis Russia. The 
Italian government has been overtly apologetic for Russian power projection in its so-called Near Abroad - notably 
against Georgia last August. Italy opposes further expansion of NATO, and, finally, Italy's energy policy too often reflects Russian, rather than European, priorities. For example, the Italian government is deeply ambivalent about the EU's Nabucco Caspian pipeline, while ENI is poised to help GAZPROM construct Black Sea and Baltic Sea pipelines that will deepen EU's dependence on Russia. ENI, 30 percent owned by the Italian Government, often dictates GOI energy policy and uses its influence, through the GOI, to block EU energy market liberalization plans. Italy is taking some steps in the right direction: the Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline project could bring Europe gas from the Caspian, and Liquid Natural Gas projects promise further diversification. 
It would be helpful if you could raise with Italian officials long-standing USG concerns about European energy security, emphasizing that increasing the flow of Russian gas around Ukraine is not the same as a policy seeking a true diversity of energy sources, routes and technologies. 

NUCLEAR ENERGY 
-------------- 

5. (C) Minister Scajola announced in May 2008 that Italy 
would pursue the start of construction of new nuclear power 

ROME 00000558 002.4 OF 003 

plants by the end of the current legislature (2013). The uncertain cost of fossil fuels, the need to meet emission 
targets, and a desire for greater energy security appear to be the motives behind this return to nuclear power (Note: 
Italy's previous nuclear power plants were decommissioned after the Chernobyl accident led to a series of three 
referenda in 1987 that had the practical effect of banning nuclear power generation. End Note) Solid government 
majorities in both chambers of parliament should facilitate the passage of legislation to address the issues of nuclear 
waste and plant siting. These issues, however, are likely to remain thorny problems for the GOI. U.S.-based companies Westinghouse and GE are interested in selling their nuclear power plant technology to Italy, but they face stiff competition from foreign rivals whose governments are heavily lobbying the GOI. For example, intense French pressure, possibly involving corrupt payments to GOI officials, led the way for the February agreement by Italian and French electricity parastatals ENEL and EdF to form a 50-50 consortium to build nuclear power plants in Italy and elsewhere. The agreement foresees the construction of four French Areva design nuclear plants in Italy by 2020 and, more disturbingly for U.S. firms, may establish French nuclear technology as the standard for Italy's return to nuclear power. The GOI has assured us that GE and Westinghouse can still compete for nuclear business, as Italy intends to build up to 10 plants as part of its energy security plan. Post continues to work for a level-playing field for U.S. companies (see ref A). You could usefully underline to Italian officials that we expect U.S. firms to be given a fair opportunity to bid for contracts in Italy's nuclear power program. You might also note that Italian behavior since February has produced the impression that other bidders -- including U.S. firms -- ""need not apply."" 

LIMITED BUT GROWING USE OF RENEWABLES 
----------------------------- 

6. (SBU) Although Italy has some of the most generous subsidies for renewable energy in Europe, more solar energy 
is produced in gloomy Germany than in sunny Italy. Experts attribute this to NIMBYism and difficulties in dealing with 
Italian bureaucracy, noting that the premium that Italians pay for renewable energy subsidies compared to Germans can 
even be considered a quantitative measure of the cost of Italian red tape. That said, Italy is now attracting 
attention as a growing renewables market, as Germany and Spain rein in their subsidies, and Italy's remain in place$wQz!4k2Q)CQgIQj'Qthe Laboratory to the Market."" 

TRYING AGAIN ON DOE's MEGAPORTS 
---------------------------- 

7. (C) With seaports, particularly those in southern Italy under the influence of organized crime, it is especially 
important that Italy be included in DOE's Megaports project. Italian ports send large numbers of containers to the United States, and some Italian ports are major transhipment centers. In 2007 about 3 million containers were shipped from or through Gioia Tauro, probably the port of most concern owing to organized crime influence. Among these were 40,000 shipments to the U.S. (See Reftels C and D.) Megaports would provide a critically important safeguard that might prevent the shipment to the United States of nuclear materials by terrorists. The USG has tried twice before to launch Megaports in Italy -- on both occasions our efforts were thwarted by the Italian bureaucracy. The GOI showed little enthusiasm for the project, and consistently failed to name a senior ""point person"" for implementation. As a result, Megaports-Italy was crushed by Italian interagency squabbling and red tape. We are set to make another major push on this critical USG priority. In order to avoid the pitfalls that killed our 

ROME 00000558 003.10 OF 003 

earlier efforts, we are seeking early, high-level GOI buy-in. We want the GOI, at very senior level, to commit to Megaports implementation, and to formally designate an Italian cabinet minister who will be responsible for implementation. 

8. (C) Your meeting with Minister Scajola represents an important opportunity to move Megaports forward in Italy. 
Scajola is one of the GOI's most powerful Ministers, and is considered personally close to Prime Minister Berlusconi. We recommend that you tell Minister Scajola that nuclear materials security is a top priority of the Obama administration, and that Megaports represents an important opportunity for Italy to do something tangible in support of President Obama's efforts to protect the world from nuclear terrorism. You may also wish to point out that Megaports will help Italian ports meet the requirement for 100 percent radiation screening (by 2012) of all U.S.-bound containers; without Megaports, Italian ports could lose business to competing European ports that are currently implementing Megaports. For the Berlusconi government to take this issue seriously, key Italian officials must hear this directly from Washington, particularly from yourself. 

IRAN 
---- 

9. (C) You should be aware that Italian parastatal energy company Eni is active in Iran, and is currently considering 
an expansion of its operations in that country. On May 18, Eni officials broached the possibility of this expansion with USG officials in Washington and were told that the USG strongly opposes any such expansion. 

POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC BACKDROP 
---------------------------- 

10. (C) Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi continues to enjoy record popularity numbers; he possesses a commanding 
parliamentary majority that gives him a degree of political security unprecedented in post-war Italy. Berlusconi's 
standing has been bolstered by positive public perceptions of his response to the devastating April 2009 earthquake in the Abruzzo region. We expect him to stay in power at least until the next scheduled national election in 2013. 

11. (C) Prudent (some would say stodgy) banking practices allowed Italy's banks to avoid the global financial sector 
melt down. Italy's banks simply did not engage in sub-prime lending, and they did not buy the toxic assets that caused so much trouble in the U.S. and elsewhere. But Italy has not been able to avoid the pain of the worldwide recession that has followed the financial crisis. Italy's economic growth rate -- which was relatively low even before the crisis -- has dropped precipitously owing to sharp contractions in its export markets and falling domestic demand. Unemployment is expected to exceed 8 percent this year and to rise further in 2010. Government tax revenues are, not unexpectedly, off sharply. Moreover, according to the IMF, an already large government debt is expected to hit 121 percent of GDP this year. Both factors reduce the government's ability to provide for stimulus measures. 

COMMENT 
------- 

12. (C) On a variety of important issues, your interactions with Italian officials provide an opportunity to advance 
important U.S. interests. Because Megaports is a DOE project, it is especially important for you to ask Minister 
Scajola for GOI support. Absent such a request it will be very difficult for Embassy Rome to push Megaports forward in Italy. It is also very important for you to remind the GOI that we expect U.S. firms to be given a fair opportunity to bid on nuclear power projects in Italy, given what we have seen to date on the selection process. 

DIBBLE