The US Navy is to close its nuclear submarine base off the Italian island of Sardinia. It is part of a broader US plan to revise its military deployment across Europe.
The news has been welcomed by environmentalists who claim to have measured increased levels of radiation in the waters near the base. But residents in the nearby town of Maddalena have mixed reactions. It is feared job losses in the small community will follow. Renato Soru is governor of the region – he recognises the importance of the decision and is confident the town’s economy will be able to withstand the closure. Maddalena naval base has been in operation since 1973. Some 1800 US personnel work there. Submarines use the facilities for repairs. The only known accident occured two years ago when a nuclear powered submarine ran aground. But Sardinia and the seas around are known for their natural beauty and many locals claim the presence of the base has hindered tourism in the area.