Italian voters turned out to reject nuclear energy in a referendum today. With 83% of the vote counted, it has been projected that the country will join Germany and abandon plans for nuclear energy, Reuters reports.Italy abandoned nuclear power in 1987 after the Chernobyl meltdown. The continuing disaster at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan is renewing the fears of Italian environmentalists.
The referendum precipitated a huge boost in shares of renewables companies.
The vote was widely seen as a poll on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was a strong proponent of nuclear energy.
“Following the decision the Italian people are taking at this moment, we must probably say goodbye to the possibility of nuclear power stations and we must strongly commit ourselves to renewable energy,” Berlusconi said.
Italians also voted today on whether to repeal water privatization and a 2010 law that grants immunity to top political officials, two of Berlusconi’s other pet projects. Officials expect that the Prime Minister will almost certainly lose on these motions as well as nuclear power. The Prime Minister is currently facing four criminal trials against him and many Italians see the immunity law as Berlusconi’s personal get out of jail free card.
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