June 14, 2011

94% of Italian voters reject nuclear power

Italian voters have voted overwhelmingly to reject Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi plans for nuclear power plants and to privatise water. And it's hard, even for Berlusconi to argue with such an emphatic vote.

Italians have rejected the call to restart nuclear by 94% of those who voted. Berlusconi had proposed a restart of the nuclear program that was abandoned in the late 1980s in a referendum after Chernobyl. 

Turnout was about 57%, which is a significant rise on participation in previous referendums. Berlusconi's call for voters to boycott the  referendum went unheeded. If  turnout been less than 50%, the result would have been invalid.The vote was a uniform rejection of Berlusconi in many respects.

Berlusconi has accepted the verdict and has said Italians that  have made their opinions  "clear" and government and parliament must "respond fully". He said that "We shall have to say good-bye to nuclear "and that his government would throw itself into developing renewable resources.
Anti-nuclear campaigners say Japan's Fukushima disaster in March helped sway public opinion against nuclear power. Like Japan, Italy is prone to earthquakes  and the images and the human disaster of Fukushima will be fresh in Italian minds. So too will  Angela Merkel's call for Germany to abandon nuclear power by 2022, and Switzerland's decision to also phase out nuclear power. 

So Italy joins the move towards renewables. 

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