Fukushima Factor: Italy abandons nuclear energy

Referendum in Italy

Berlusconi bites bullet

Italy is following Germany down the path of dumping nuclear energy. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has accepted the rejection of his nuclear power plans and other policies in a popular referendum. With more than 90% opposition to his policies, he said Italians had made their opinion “clear” and government and parliament must “respond fully”. Berlusconi had wanted to restart a nuclear programme abandoned in the 1980s.

italy and nuclear power rejection

Italians were also asked two questions on the privatization of water supplies, and one on whether government ministers could be exempted from court cases. This last question was especially pertinent to Mr Berlusconi, who is currently facing four separate trials.

Anti-nuclear campaigners say Japan’s Fukushima disaster in March helped sway public opinion against nuclear power.

Turnout was about 57%, a significant rise on participation in previous referendums – and a firm rejection of Mr Berlusconi’s call for voters to boycott the referendum. Had turnout been less than 50%, the result would have been invalid.

The Rupert Murdoch of Italy

The bizarre nature of Italian politics could be in for a change. Silvio Berlusconi as Prime Minister of Italy, is akin to Rupert Murdoch being President of the United States. According to Forbes, Berlusconi is Italy’s third richest man, estimated to own assets worth $9 billion in 2010, in the fields of television, newspapers, publishing, cinema, finance, banking, insurance, and even sport.

Berlusconi’s main company, Mediaset, comprises three national television channels, which together cover approximately a half of the national television sector; and Publitalia, the leading Italian advertising and publicity agency. Berlusconi also owns Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, the largest Italian publishing house, whose publications include Panorama, one of the country’s most popular news magazines. His brother, Paolo Berlusconi, owns and operates il Giornale, a centre-right wing newspaper which provides a strong pro-Berlusconi slant on Italy and its politics. Il Foglio, one of the most influential Italian right-wing newspapers, is partially owned by his wife, Veronica Lario. Berlusconi is also the founder and major shareholder of Fininvest, which is among the ten largest private companies in Italy and currently operates in media and finance.

With Ennio Doris he founded Mediolanum, one of the country’s biggest banking and insurance groups. He has interests in cinema and home video distribution (Medusa Film and Penta Film). He is also the owner of the European football club A.C. Milan which, along with Boca Juniors, has won the most FIFA recognized international club titles in the world.

Italy and Italian politics have been traveling a rocky road for decades, times could be changing.

italy newspaper nuclear energy

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Posted by on June 14, 2011. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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One Response to Fukushima Factor: Italy abandons nuclear energy

  1. jenny40

    June 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I think this is a gross overreaction to the Japan accidents.