The Fukushima nuclear meltdown has had an incredible impact upon international energy policy as Germany, Switzerland, and Japan officially declared government efforts to phase-out nuclear power. Now Italy may be the next nation to follow suit, as a referendum voted upon by 57% of its population opted to abandon the use of nuclear energy.
The country hasn’t seen a voter turnout higher than 50% since 1995 – this recent surge in participation is indicative of the nation’s tumultuous political climate. The decision to phase out nuclear power was part of a four-pronged policy change proposal drafted by Italy’s center-left opposition parties. Of the 57% voter turnout, 95% voted against nuclear power on each referendum – hopefully a considerable chunk of those who voted were motivated by a desire to transition to renewables.
While one of the key issues of Prime Minister Berlusconi’s election campaign was the revival of Italy’s nuclear program (which was previously abandoned after Chernobyl in 1987), the voting results indicate an inevitable change in plans. The Prime Minister stated in response to the recent vote that Italy would have to “strongly commit” to renewable energy. Hopefully, this recent change in direction will jump start the country’s wavering economy with new jobs to help with the transition to clean energy.