“We shall have to say good-bye to nuclear” – Berlusconi
Some days you know are going to be great. A bit before 8 AM i hop on the netbook in Bonnie Rovics living room in Jamaica Plane enclave of Boston and Honza is in Japan. He shoots me a FB instant msg that with 70% of the vote counted almost 95% of Italians have voted to not build any new reactors. And i am like a slightly crazy 7 year old after the best treasure hunt of their lives.
First i look for verification and other than the link in Italian that Honza sends me, there is nothing on in google news. In fact, never today did the MSM get the story of Italy’s Prime Minster crushing referendum to the top of google’s news, despite me having a nuclear power category. Instead we had a silly press release piece on Westinghouse signing a service agreement with Bulgaria for Kozloduy (where i organized an international protest at Ecotopia in the summer of 1993). Before 9 AM have have written or IMed 2 dozen nuclear campaigners and posted various places.
Italy has a functioning referendum system. In 1987 after the Chernobyl accident the Italians voted to close all 4 operating reactors in the country. The Berlusconi government had hoped last weekends referendum would fail to make the 50% of the electorate level required to make it binding. The last time this level was achieved was 1995. Berlusconi owns 6 of the 7 national TV stations, these stations blacked out coverage of the referendum to support the governments hopes. And as in North Africa, social media stepped in where the privately owned media failed the public.
In his concession speech Berlusconi said “We will have to say good bye to nuclear.” And pledged to develop real renewables instead. Other referendum measures that pass clear the way for the PM to be investigated for paying a minor for sex and then using his office to get her out of jail. Berlusconi is something of a charmer, who has lost his touch.
And as i go to sleep this happy day, news flashes across my screen that 41 of Japan 54 reactors will be down in the heat of the August, because 1) they are still damaged or 2) local governors are refusing to let reactors closed for maintenance or by the 3/11 tsunami be reopened.
A good day indeed.