Exploration #180. CISE, Centro Informazioni Studi ed Esperienze, was founded on a private initiative in 1946 in Milan and expanded with the intervention of various state-owned industrial groups. Active as an independent institution until 1996, it was then absorbed into ENEL’s research structures. The centre, which is still active today, conducts research in the fields of nuclear and renewable energy and electronics.
CISE was founded in Milan in 1946 by Giuseppe Bolla, a professor of physics, with the aim of tackling the most topical energy issues for the industrial sector, as it was in the immediate post-war period, at the dawn of nuclear energy applications for civil uses. Supported by some of the most important private companies in Italy (Edison, Montecatini, Fiat, Società Adriatica di Elettricità, Falck and Pirelli), the limited liability company Centro Informazioni Studi Esperienze (CISE) was established, with the participation of the Municipality of Milan.
CISE soon developed with a marked multidisciplinary connotation, carrying out the most diverse types of activities. It deals with topics such as water control and protection, environmental compatibility of industrial installations, the chemistry of separating similar elements, the production of electronic instrumentation and solid state devices, the manufacture of lasers of all types and their applications to industry and medicine, environmental and industrial diagnostics, materials studies, and applications in the space field. Among the most important projects developed by CISE was the creation of a knowledge base in Italy for the design and operation of a nuclear reactor. This project led to the development of CIRENE, a natural uranium and heavy water reactor, cooled by natural water in phase change regime (fog), conceived and directed by engineer Mario Silvestri, then built on the campus of the Latina power plant and unfortunately never put into operation.
In 1963, following the law on the nationalisation of electricity, ENEL became the majority shareholder, and CISE became public property. In 1987, following the referendum on nuclear power, the activity of CISE was diverted to the fields of environmentalism, industrial diagnostics, optoelectronics and electronic devices. In 1998 CISE was merged into ENEL Struttura e Ricerche spa (ENEL/SRI) and in 2000 ENEL spa transferred its research activities in the field of electricity production and distribution to CESI spa.
In 2003 CESI had to leave the historical building in Segrate where CISE had been operating since 1960. The area remained under armed surveillance for a few years until it was completely cleared by So.G.I.N., which released the area without radiological constraints in July 2007. Since then, the area has been totally abandoned, everything has been destroyed, looted and many buildings have become shelters for the homeless. To date, numerous redevelopment projects have been presented but none have been implemented.