The Italian Government has selected a town in an area of outstanding natural beauty as the site for an underground nuclear waste dump.
By David Willey
BBC correspondent, Rome
The small coastal town of Scanzano is in the extreme south of Italy.
Experts say the waste will remain radioactive for up to a 150,000 years.
But the government regards the consolidation of its nuclear-waste storage facilities in one place as a national priority, given the increased risks of possible terrorist attack.
About 80,000 cubic metres of radioactive materials at present stored temporarily in different parts of the country will be collected and transported to a thinly-populated area which attracts many tourists because of its unspoiled wildlife.
Regional and local government officials in Basilicata said they knew nothing of the decision and the mayor of Scanzano, who belongs to one of the government coalition parties, is seeking an immediate meeting with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The leader of the opposition Green Party called the decision scandalous and accused the government of trying to deflect attention from the controversial decision while Italy is still under shock from the death of its soldiers in Iraq.
Italians voted in a national referendum 16 years ago to close down all four of their nuclear power plants, but the spent fuel pools of these decommissioned power stations now present a security risk.