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The Shot Heard ‘Round the World

While news headlines in nuclearized countries around the world tout the possible demise of Silvio Berlusconi, the real story in today’s Italian Referendum is about the defeat of nuclear power by a totally home-grown, grass-roots, citizen’s movement. Inspite of near totalitarian rule, total mass media censorship, legal manoeuvres, and every trick and obstacle imaginable down to the very last minute, the Italian people have overcome it all and delivered a whopping defeat to the global nuclear renaissance and the now crippled Italian government that supported it.

The return to nuclear power and the construction of up to 15 new and untested Areva EPR and Westinghouse AP1000 reactors and their consequential nuclear waste depositories to be located from Venice to Sicily has been literally made illegal in Italy as voted by law today, in the historic June 12-13, 2011 Referendum.

With the required quorum achieved and over 55.75% of the electorate participating, the vote is now legally binding with 61,579 department sections of 61.599 reporting so far.

A mind-blowing 94.37% of the voters voted “Yes to Stop nuclear power in Italy.”

In one full and decisive swoop, Italy has once again become nuclear-free, and has returned to the world stage as a leader in the fast growing movement to stop nuclear power and commit instead, to renewable energy production and technologies.

With Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and Greece now in a new pan-european no-nuclear club, plans are already underway to increase continent-wide pressure on the world’s 2nd largest nuclearized state- France, to shut down its 54 high-risk aging and accident prone-plants, where already 77% of the population wants to get out of nuclear power.

The movement also is preparing to address the world’s number one nuclear power, the United States, where recent polls indicate over 70% of the population fear a major nuclear accident will occur in at least one of its 104 aging plants, and over 54% do not want to fund any more new plant construction with public money.

Today, as highly radioactive emissions still race totally out of control at Fukushima Dai-Ichi in Japan, for many, the pressure is on to shut down all the 162 reactors before the next Fukushima-style disasters risk taking place in either one of the two countries. Disasters that could place either Europe, North America, or both, at unthinkable risks.

Geoffrey Small can be reached at: geoffreyb.small@gmail.com.

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