Pisa, Italy – Demo against nuclear death


Translated by act for freedom now

 Poster reads:






 750,000 litres of radioactive water, a nuclear whim of scientists and the military, who with the help of the municipality of Pisa, ARPAT and other public bodies are poisoning and destroying the land and all the living beings who inhabit it. The chain of nuclear power is harmful in all its passages. Everybody knew it, but they decided to undertake the enterprise without thinking of the consequences, and confiding in the apathy of the people. We don’t want to find the solutions to the problems created by scientists; it will be up to the experts to find the solutions when they are put with their backs against the wall in the face of a determined, uncompromised and widespread opposition.




 Villa Panico – Garage Occupato – Il Silvestre

  Text of the communiqué:


 To express opposition to the CISAM project for the dismantling of the nuclear reactor in Pisa means to reject the atomic nightmare here and anywhere else, in whatever form it manifests itself. The decommissioning of the Pisa experimental reactor, the first experiment of this kind in Italy, will obviously lead the way to similar activities at other obsolete nuclear plants scattered in the territory. ‘Successful experiment’, will applaud its promoters, ‘public opinion is lubricated, society is ready and complicit; except for the usual heretical mob, opponent by definition, very few make objection’. Yes, in fact after the 2011 referendum that followed the shock of the explosion of the Fukushima plant, the Italian state couldn’t help giving up – exclusively in their political propaganda – the re-launching of nuclear power for energy production, as they were sure they would recycle it in due time. As we know historical memory is an inconvenient quality to modern civilization: ‘manipulate in order to get consensus’ is definitely a virtuoso motto much more in line with the times.
As a matter of fact, the nuclear option, essential for a socio-economic complex based on energy overproduction, has never been set aside. A clear evidence of this is the proliferation of scientific research, private and public, civilian and military, in this area. And Pisa is once again a pioneer. For example, the University of Nuclear Engineering of Pisa, which is part of CIRTEN – a interuniversity consortium for nuclear technological research formed by a number of universities including Milan, Turin, Bologna, Padua, Palermo and Rome – is working on the fourth generation reactors currently employed in eastern European countries.
That’s why it is important to give a signal in Pisa, a city where a number of projects are being devised and developed in total silence, in the most hypocritical complicity. We can’t fall in their trap: ‘you wanted us to close down nuclear plants and we’re doing it. What are you complaining about?’ We want to state once again that atomic energy was and continue to be the dream and driving force of a society in constant need of energy, a society that devastates the environment and is only looking for the profit of the few to the detriment of the planet and its inhabitants. It’s not a question of finding alternative solutions; it’s not up to us to find solutions to the damage created by the experts of terror. They will find the solutions when they are put with their backs against the wall in the face of a determined and uncompromised struggle.


 The atomic attack on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6th August 1945 and that carried out in Nagasaki a few days later, are the tragedies that marked the dawn of the nuclear era, and with it the decline of life on the planet. Since then the dark, looming shadow of nuclear power has been threatening any possibility of a different future, a future free from a political-economic system made of hierarchical and financial relations, free from harmfulness, exploitation and oppression. Since the beginning, in fact, nuclear power contained the announced death of the planet, both from the point of view of other perspectives limited by the impossibility to get rid of it permanently (the unstable legacy it leaves us for millions of years is a well-established reality), and for its contemporary expression that continues to cause irreversible disasters: from the most notorious ones (Kyshtym, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima) to the less known ones, from the French nuclear tests at Mururoa Atoll to the tests in India and Nevada. Nuclear power is a road of no return, one that can only lead to a cul-de-sac. The ideology of nuclear power is an essential part and an instrument of the capitalist system; in a way it refines it and strengthens it in its irreversibility.
The techno-industrial system, in decline in modern western capitalist democracies, has been using the atom to impose itself, strengthen itself, make its dominion on the planet ineluctable. The dominion of a society protected and generated by fear. Nuclear power refers to the most atavist fear: the fear of death. And more, the fear of ‘cold war’, of losing a privileged style of life, the fear that entrusts experts with our future. Atomic energy means death at every stage of its production. The industrial chain of nuclear power, of which we are accomplices because we are unaware and irresponsible consumers of its final product, implies serious social and ecological consequences. From the extraction of uranium to the transport and storage of nuclear waste and the construction of plants, there exists no step that doesn’t imply tragedy, violence, exploitation. Nuclear power always brings with it new wars and massacres, a further advance of dominion over peoples and territories which seem easy to be plundered. Energy bulimia typical of the techno-industrial world is the elixir on which the very survival of this society depends. Energy is the umbilical cord that must nourish it, no matter the cost. Nuclear power is an integral and strategic part of it, and its disastrous consequences are only inevitable ‘side effects’ typical of a social-economic-political organization based on dominion over human beings, nature and all other living beings. Energy, chain production in reverse (demand imposed by capital rather than by need), consume and circulation of goods (globalization) are inseparable elements that constitute civilization.
The increase in production to the detriment of all living beings can only lead to an increase of alienation, coldness, isolation and hostility. In the face of the imminent collapse of the biosphere and the alleged exhaustion of energy resources, the system is trying to run for cover by re-launching a nuclear proliferation passed off by the propaganda of the regime as ecological and cheap. Battalions of experts, technophiles and opinion makers, relying on their incomprehensible and at the same time reassuring jargon, are carrying on, as good soldiers of the system, the crusade of the multinationals of nuclear power. Had it not been for the Fukushima disaster, perhaps, we’d be back to a new radioactive nightmare even in our territories. As the danger has been ‘averted’ for the time being, we are witnessing the show of the usual experts, trying to remake their face, caressing the ethical conscience of true democratic ecologists with the green economy. A paradox that follows another paradox. To paint capitalist development in green is not only a trick and a contradiction in terms, but also a charming justification the system uses on those whom, in good or bad faith, it thinks can be reformed.


 There’s no difference between civilian and military use of nuclear power. Rather, there’s a constant exchange of knowledge and funds between the two sectors; at the same time, according to the funds available and to the political wind of the moment, the machine of nuclear propaganda switches to one sector or the other without batting an eyelid. Civilian nuclear power derives from the military one, of which it has always used the know-how. Similarly, civilian nuclear power serves the interests of the military one, not only as concerns  the supply and production of materials such as plutonium and waste material derived from the production of civilian nuclear power, but also to justify and develop nuclear research, which will contribute to the military sector without trouble. Moreover, civilian nuclear power fulfils a very important task: that of making people accustomed to live with nuclear power without fear, on the contrary by thinking it is indispensable for survival and ‘progress’, virtuous flag of civilization that promotes and justifies any project of research. Even if it is by now obvious that progress in this society doesn’t bring about well-being or real improvement of living conditions, but exploitation, destruction and death; not only in places distant from western sight and conscience but also in our nice democratic and vanguard cities. The logic that lies behind the system of civilian nuclear power is the same: to impose order and discipline, and at the same time to try to give oxygen to a collapsing society. Nuclear power, be it civilian or military, represents the paradigms of the capitalist world: to centralize power and its mechanisms of decisions, to impose a culture of security, to force people to an inevitable and seemingly inevitable subordination.


 The complex system of western capitalist societies, intrinsically hierarchical and authoritarian, can only base its prosperity on a repressive military apparatus. From the one hand the imperialist wars of conquest and colonization waged to assimilate and annihilate all human communities that don’t conform to the dominant paradigms in order to homologate them and plunder their resources, be they natural or social. On the other hand, the apparatus of civil pacification increasingly linked to the military one. Soldiers patrolling the piazzas of our cities and drones flying over our heads should remind us how Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan are not the only territories of war, but the pacified west is that too. We are at war, even if we strive to realize it because here war is fought only by one side. When it is not like that, when resistance intervene to oppose the undisturbed advance of capital, masks fall down definitely and the process of pacification reveals all its coercive and repressive nature. It is now an established practice to adopt surveillance and intervention protocols in sites considered of strategic interest, protocols similar to those adopted in military sites. For example this happened and continues to happen in the Susa Valley, where construction yards are patrolled by troops that came back from Afghanistan. Under the filthy flag of democracy and public order, those who resist become automatically terrorists. And the trial for attack with purposes of terrorism that will soon be held in Turin against four comrades accused of having committed sabotage on a yard in Chiomonte reveals the desire to suppress any yearning for freedom in no uncertain terms. War in pacified west also manifests itself in the constant and gradual militarization of the territories and in the construction of military bases such as the MOUS (U.S. Navy base for the coordination of drone bombing) in Sicily or the military HUB (strategic centre) under construction in Pisa. The latter, along with numerous other military structures such as barracks, the military airport and the USA base of Camp Darby, make the area between Pisa and Livorno one of the most militarized in the country. And it’s not only a question of direct repression and privatization of the land: war needs reliable men and highly technological means. It needs propaganda that justifies it and technology that makes it highly effective. We know very well how Universities and Research Centres, so called civilian, have always contributed to the strengthening and development of the military apparatus, as they effectively support (only apparently in a neutral way) the will to maintain and consolidate control and dominion on the existent. The School of Graduate and Advanced Studies S. Anna, considered one of the jewels of Pisa, is an excellent example of cooperation between the military and scientific research. Suffice it to mention its Course in Peacekeeping, which in collaboration with the Military Centre for Strategic Studies prepare the future ruling class to working closely with the military and to transforming imperialist war into humanitarian war (ops mission), thus forming future observers marked UE, ONU. And more the ‘Course of Updating on Afghanistan’, destined to the officials of the Folgore brigade. And what about the agreement struck between the Centre for Research on Technologies for Robotics and Sea (a spin-off of S. Anna) and the WASS company of Livorno, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica and leader in the construction of later-generation torpedoes such as the Black Shark, which are sold all over the world? Or the collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Tel Aviv, a research centre which among other things works on the development of the Israeli nuclear arsenal?
Pisa, a city boasting a university attended by 50.000 students, a jewel in the field of scientific research, is a city where an increasing presence of the military confirms the complicity of the city institutions, above all universities and institutes of research, with such a cumbersome occupation.
Not far from the USA base of Camp Darby, in the pine forest of Tombolo in S. Piero a Grado, can be found CISAM (Interagency Centre for Military Applications Studies), a research centre used by the three armed forces coordinated by the Chief of Defence Staff; an example of how military and civilian researches on nuclear power mix up with each other and depend on each other.


 The Centre was founded in1956 under the name CAMEN. (Centre for Military Applications of Nuclear Power) within the Military Academy of Livorno. At the time the Navy was planning the fabrication of a nuclear-powered engine for submarines. Given the scarce knowledge in the field, they decided to create a centre of studies and experimentation, also relying on the experience and skills of Pisa’s university professors. The collaboration between the Defence and the University of Pisa resulted in the decision to provide the Centre with an experimental nuclear reactor, which was later built in San Piero a Grado, where the Centre moved in 1961. In the new premises CAMEN had vanguard laboratories and equipment, including the Nuclear Reactor of Research RTS-1 ‘Galileo Galilei’. With such equipment and counting on military and civilian personnel, the Centre soon made of Pisa a state-of-the-art city for the study of nuclear power to be destined to military and civilian applications, developed a number of projects and started a lucrative collaboration with Universities, Research Centres (big national companies like ENI established there their research groups) and National Companies. The Centre took the name of CRESAM after the dismantling of the reactor in 1985, and finally became CISAM. Since the beginning, the activities related to the reactor had made it necessary the presence of a structure for the treatment of radioactive waste and of a temporary depot. Thus CISAM, with all the knowledge being developed there, became the collection point of all the military waste produced in our country.
After more than half a century of life the Centre, unknown to many as is its history, is now engaged in the crucial task of decommissioning, i.e. the dismantling of the reactor. For months now the radioactive water of the cooling pool have been pouring into the canal of Navicelli, an artificial canal that links the docks of Pisa to the draining canal of Arno and finally to the sea of the harbour of Livorno. The first phases of the decommissioning implied the transfer of fuel to the plant of Saluggia in the mid-eighties, and the transfer of unused fuel to France at the beginning of 2000. In 2007 a minor part of the plant was dismantled, and then begun the procedures to obtain the financing of the total dismantlement of the plant and the operation to ensure the safety of the site. The 750,000 litres of radioactive water which will be treated within the area occupied by CISAM for a few months more and will be subsequently disposed of in the downstream of the sewage treatment plant of Pisa Sud, until it flows into the Canal, are therefore yet another insult to an accomplice and subdued city. In the face of some weak but determined manifestation of opposition to such an emblematic and paradoxical project, all bodies concerned (Arpat, Enea, Ispra, Municipality and so on) raced to give pitiful reassurances on the safety of the procedure, but it was a useless and frantic search for a painless cure to be administered to all those citizens by now insensitive to any kind of pain. So an entire population appears once again totally indifferent to and conniving with a project of death.


 To struggle against nuclear power means to struggle against the existent, to struggle against one of its most symbolic and harmful expressions. In the face of the perspective imposed by the existent made by clogs that can be interchanged at any time, by a mega-machine that destroys individuals and ecosystems in the name of profit, there are those who don’t intend to refuse the adulation of a complaint life. But there are also those who can’t accept it, those who have too much dignity to accept a role, a ‘place in the sun’, within this murderous society. We are on the side of the rebels of all times, we recognize in them – beyond the trajectories of struggle they undertook – a revolutionary value, which we are trying to ‘inherit’. To inherit from those who felt in the struggle, who are prisoners, who are on the side of trajectories of resistance. Since the mid-seventies, nuclear power has been meeting with much resistance, a resistance that has been developing in a great number of practices and claims. There’s no time for delegating, being passive, fearful or reasonable. Self-organized, uncompromised, individual struggle is the only road that opens limitless possibilities of conflict against the development and strengthening of this pre-packed, alienating and bio-destroyer existent. But beyond words, slogans and the risk of ‘spectacularization’ of the conflict, very few are trying to really act in order to stop the plans of dominion , oppression and exploitation. We’ve got outstanding examples of this. Let’s think of Marco Camenisch, who at the end of seventies tried to stop the construction of nuclear plants in Switzerland with dynamite. For his actions of freedom he paid and is still paying with 30 years of prison and with the revenge of the Swiss state which doesn’t want to release him even after the end of his time in jail. Let’s think of Nicola and Alfredo, who gave back some terror to those whose job is to terrorize with a democratic smile on their faces. These are disturbing examples to many, but not to those who decided which side to take, with the awareness that no one will give us a different world, as we have to conquer it by ourselves, step by step, with all the consequences this involves. Opposition to nuclear power is not reactor decommissioning; on the contrary, since the eighties it is sabotage, strikes, marches, occupations, blocks of train transporting nuclear waste, etc.: a thread marking the continuity with the resistance to the infamous capitalist world that produces nuclear power.

 Villa Panico

Garage anarchico

Il Silvestre



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