Italy Votes to Halt Nuclear Development

On Wednesday, Italy’s senate voted and approved plans to halt nuclear development and a return to nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster in Japan.  The proposal was voted over opposition from the Democratic and Italy of Values parties, and will head to the Chamber of Deputies for approval.  

Though the opposition holds an anti-nuclear stance as well, they challenged the proposal because they believe it to be only a short term fix that would only suspend the nuclear program temporarily.

Paolo Romani, Economic Development Minister, gives more detail in the progress of nuclear power.  Romani states that Italy will reconsider nuclear power only “when Europe as a whole takes decisions shared by all countries,” noting that Italy’s consideration of nuclear power may be dependent on the safety test results of Europe’s nuclear power stations.  Romani also displays sensitivity to public opinion, noting that “nuclear power is not culturally acceptable at the moment.”

Italy has been independent of nuclear energy since 1987, following the Chernobyl disaster, but may be reconsidering nuclear power as a way of cutting Italy’s power costs and fossil fuel dependence.  

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi spearheaded the effort to bring back the use of nuclear energy, first promising to do so in his 2008 election campaign.  Even more recently, he paved the way for atomic power stations to be built starting in 2014, despite polls showing that the majority of Italians still opposed the use of nuclear power.  

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