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No to nuclear and no to Berlusconi

Written by kumaran   // June 14, 2011   // Comments Off

italy no nuclear Anti-nuclear protesters in Rome

In the past two days the people of Italy have been given their say.

They have convincingly rejected nuclear power and they have delivered another humiliating defeat to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan is changing Europe’s energy future. Increasingly it looks as if it may become a continent without nuclear power.

The French have bet heavily on the nuclear industry providing clean energy. Given the chance, Europe’s citizens are saying “no way”.

Eyes on France

On 30 May, Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse, decided to phase out atomic power between 2015 and 2022. Switzerland looks set to follow. It is examining a proposal to phase out the country’s nuclear plants by 2034.

Now Italy will not revive its nuclear industry. The people have spoken and spoken convincingly. Silvio Berlusconi had urged his supporters to boycott the polls, hoping that the turnout would not reach the necessary threshold of 50%.

In the end, 56% of voters took part and afterwards the prime minister conceded: “We will have to commit strongly to the renewable energy sector.” The leader of the Greens in the European Parliament, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, said this vote “could open a serious phase of reflection in other member states”.

If Europe moves away from nuclear power, a question arises as to whether it can fill the gap with renewable energy. Will the mood in France change and will they, too, get a chance to vote? [Read More]

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