Sunday, June 12, 2011

Italians Voting on a Referendom on Nuclear Energy

From Reuters (6/12/2011):


(Reuters) - Italians began voting in four referendums on Sunday that could strike a new blow against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is still stinging from heavy local election losses last month.

The centre-left opposition has been leading a spirited campaign to get voters out to cast their ballots on the questions, which concern the privatisation of water utilities, nuclear energy and whether government ministers can be exempt from attending trials against them.

A central issue will be whether enough voters turn out to ensure the necessary quorum of 50 percent plus one vote. But if they repeal existing laws by voting yes, the result will likely have repercussions on his fractious centre-right coalition.


The referendum on nuclear power is the most emotive of the four, in the wake of the disaster at Japan's Fukushima reactor in March. Polls say most Italians are against nuclear energy, which they consider unsafe in a country prone to earthquakes.

Berlusconi is a big proponent of nuclear power, which the centre right says is indispensable for the future of a country that imports nearly all its energy.

Last year the government passed a law to re-start a nuclear energy programme, which was halted in 1987 by another referendum. Aware of the likely backlash following Fukushima, the government has suspended the plans but a referendum could block atomic power for decades.

Japan's Yomiuri rather anxiously reports that on June 12 alone, 41% of eligible voters (Italian citizens age 18 and above, about 47 million) cast their vote. The voting will close on 3PM local time on June 13, and the vote counting will commence immediately.


Matt said...

Have you heard anything in respect to the following information? It's extremely upsetting.

AILEEN MIOKO SMITH: Well, there’s incredible concern, especially among parents in Fukushima prefecture. But now spreading is concern among parents in Tokyo, which is quite a far way from Fukushima. Mainly, what’s been happening is that citizens have been monitoring. And after they find high levels, they demand that the local authorities and the government look at those contaminated areas, and then the government looks, and it is contaminated. [...]

AMY GOODMAN: And a new study is being done by the prefecture, Aileen?

AILEEN MIOKO SMITH: Yes, we’re very concerned that a health study is starting at the end of this month. This is concerning the effects of the Fukushima residents, on the prefectural citizens. It’s headed by a Dr. Shunichi Yamashita, who’s at the Atomic Bomb Research Institute. He’s the radiological health safety risk management adviser for the prefecture. He’s widely shown on national TV. He speaks widely in the prefecture, always saying there’s absolutely no concern with the levels of radiation in Fukushima. He says that mothers, even mothers exposed to 100 millisieverts, pregnant mothers, will not have any effect, health effect. Remember the number 100. Compared to that, the Soviet Union required a mandatory evacuation during Chernobyl at five millisieverts. This doctor is quoted as saying, “The effects of radiation do not come to people that are happy and laughing. They come to people that are weak-spirited, that brood and fret.” This is a direct quote. And he’s heading the study. And so, the citizens in Fukushima are very concerned. [...]

Hélios said...

Hello !

Alex75 said...

The italian people are in fact the first people in the world to have decided: NO MORE NUKE!

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@Matt, Professor Yamashita is trying to backtrack furiously right now, saying "I always said radiation is dangerous".

@Helios, they must be doing some SPAM campaign everywhere... They even used this blog's comment section..

@Alex75, way to go Italians! (and Germans and Swiss, too.)

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