Italian Referendum Ends Nuclear Projects

Italian voters have deep sixed their country's plans to build new reactors, making Italy the third European Union country to move away from the technology following the Fukushima Daiichi crisis in Japan.

The Italian government in 2009 had adopted legislation that would derive a fourth of the country's power from domestic nuclear plants by 2030. Politicians hoped to reduce high electricity costs and dependence on energy imports by developing 6,400 megawatts of Italian nuclear generation in partnership France's EDF. Italy has not had an operating nuclear plant since the last of its four reactors was closed in 1990 following a similar referendum.

Popular support for new reactors plummeted, though, following the tsunami-triggered accident in Japan. International media reported Monday that 94 percent of participating Italians voted to reverse legislation allowing new nuclear construction. Turnout of 57 percent ensured the results were valid under Italian law.

Earlier, legislatures in Switzerland and Germany adopted measures to phase out nuclear plants in those countries.

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