Voters crush Berlusconi’s nuclear plans

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 […]

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By Tom Gibson

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.