14 Jun 2011

Voters in Italy reject nuclear power

3:54 pm on 14 June 2011

Preliminary results from a referendum in Italy indicate that voters look set decisively to reject nuclear power.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had wanted to restart nuclear plants shut in the 1980s.

The government earlier said nuclear power was needed to supply about 20% of electricity by 2020.

But with turnout exceeding the necessary 50%, Mr Berlusconi said ''we must probably say goodbye to ... nuclear power'' and commit to renewable energy.

He had urged a boycott of the vote - but the turnout was 57%.

Voters were also asked two questions on the privatisation of water supplies, and another on whether government ministers can be exempted from court cases.

The BBC reports the final question is especially pertinent to Mr Berlusconi, who is facing four separate trials.