Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi suffered yet another setback yesterday as the Italian public turned out in their masses to vote ‘no’ to nuclear.
The referendum needed a turnout of at least 50% to be binding. Figures indicated that more than 57% of the electorate had taken part. The ballot was also the latest evidence that a majority of Italians have turned against their prime minister.
The Italian referendum was the world’s first vote on the subject since the disaster in Japan and represents a growing international dissatisfaction with nuclear power.
Berlusconi boycotted the vote and reports say that Italian television, largely under his control, ignored the referendum in a low-profile campaign.
Berlusconi had planned to generate a quarter of Italy’s electricity with French-built nuclear plants with construction of the first plant due to start in 2013.
Mr Berlusconi told a press conference in Rome that his government would now throw all its energy into developing renewable sources.