Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
An aerial view from a search and rescue helicopter shows the site of an explosion at a hydroelectric power plant on Lake Suviana in central Italy, near Bologna. (Photo by Vigili del Fuoco / AFP)

At least four dead after hydroelectric plant explosion, building 'superbonus' claims reach record high, Italy approves Berlusconi postage stamp, and more news from around Italy on Wednesday.


Italy's top story on Wednesday:

An explosion at an Italian hydroelectric power plant on Tuesday afternoon killed at least four people and left five missing, an official said.

Three people were also injured in the incident at the Bargi plant run by Enel Green Power located on Lake Suviana, the official from the Bologna prefecture in central Italy told AFP.

Fire service images showed smoke rising from the plant on the water's edge where firefighters searched for the missing following the blast.

The mayor of the nearby town of Camugnano, Marco Masinara, called the explosion a "terrible workplace accident" that affected the "entire community".

It was unclear what caused the blast, which occurred below the water level, though maintenance works had reportedly been in progress.

Italy plans first nuclear fusion plant 'in 2030s'

Italian energy giant Eni said on Tuesday it will build the country's first nuclear fusion plant in a joint project with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the early 2030s, Italian media reported.

The Eni group's head of fusion, Francesca Ferrazza, told the Senate Environment Committee the first grid-connected industrial plant was planned for the early 2030s, and new power plants could be fully operational in the second half of the decade.

New legislation will be needed before the plans can go ahead, Ferrazza said, as Italy's government plans a new push to reintroduce nuclear power in the country.

Italy's last remaining nuclear power plants were closed down more than 33 years ago, and the Italian public has historically been opposed to nuclear power, rejecting its reintroduction via public referendums in 1987 and 2011.


Italy's 'superbonus' claims reach record high

Requests for reimbursements under Italy's 'superbonus' home renovations scheme grew to record highs last month, with beneficiaries filing claims for €8 billion in March 2024 alone, according to the latest report by government-sponsored research agency Enea.

Under the scheme, which was introduced by Italy's then-government in 2020 to boost the country's economy in the wake of the Covid pandemic, homeowners could claim back as much as 110 percent of the cost of property renovations via a tax rebate spread out over several years.

The current government reduced the rate to 70 percent at the start of 2024 citing a high burden on state finances, and the scheme is no longer open to most homeowners, but reimbursements continue under claims started in previous years.

In total, more than €122 billion has been claimed in deductions on 495,000 properties since the superbonus was launched, according to financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.


Italy approves Berlusconi postage stamp

Ministers on Tuesday approved plans to issue a special postage stamp commemorating the life of scandal-plagued ex prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who died in June 2023 at the age of 86 after playing a key role in forming the current government.

The stamp, set to be issued on the anniversary of Berlusconi's death, was proposed by members of Berlusconi's Forza Italia party and approved by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, news agency Ansa reported.

It was "the right recognition of a great Italian who served and honoured the Republic in all the roles he held," senator Licia Ronzulli and deputy Paolo Emilio Russo, both members of Forza Italia, said in a statement.

Berlusconi became one of more than a dozen figures to be commemorated with stamps in Italy this year, including radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi on the 150th anniversary of his birth, and composer Giacomo Puccini on the centenary of his death.


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