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Italy Votes To Abandon Nuclear Power

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the giving-progress-the-boot dept.

Power 848

ElementOfDestruction writes "Italy has joined Germany in halting the production of energy from atomic power generation. This differs from Germany in that the Italian decision was made by a public vote, rather than a government mandated shutdown. 57% of Italian Households voted in this public measure. While democracy should trump all, is it wise to hold majority opinion so high that it slows down progress?"

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Where's the "idiots" tag? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435546)

Where will you get power now? France's nuclear plants?

Re:Where's the "idiots" tag? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435552)

Yes, why not.

Re:Where's the "idiots" tag? (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435606)

Libya.

Oh wait...

Re:Where's the "idiots" tag? (2, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435658)

Italy has never had any running nuclear reactors anyway (there is one not fully built though and being an investition ruin since some decades). This vote is just a confirmation of the status quo. But don't let that interfere with your opinion.

Re:Where's the "idiots" tag? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435938)

This vote is just a confirmation of the status quo. But don't let that interfere with your opinion.

Right, because the status quo is always such a good thing, that the ones wanting to change it must be the idiots.

Power demand the world over is only going to increase. Saying now that they won't even consider nuclear power to handle future power demands, yes, that makes them idiots.

Or Germany's renewables (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435794)

since France had to import a lot of power last year because of their nuclear power infrastucture failed in the hot weather.

Alas, Rev. Bayes (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435558)

You were too late to save us from human intuition.

Re:Alas, Rev. Bayes (2, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435614)

"US coal power fleet kills 10,000 a year; Fukushima will kill under 100, total. We are very bad at evaluating risks."

- David Keith, Canada Research Chair in Energy and the Environment, University of Calgary

Re:Alas, Rev. Bayes (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435732)

preposterous. obviously indirect deaths don't count for nuclear yet they do for coal. what a bankrupt comparison

Hey mdsolar! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435788)

Come out from under that rock, kiddo.

Re:Alas, Rev. Bayes (3, Interesting)

epiphani (254981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435826)

Sorry, if you have a logical argument as to why this is preposterous, please feel free to cover it. I'll add credentials to the above quote just for good measure, so you're aware of the source of this statement and why he may be in a position to make such a statement:

Canada Research Chair in Energy and the Environment
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Calgary
Adjunct Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy and Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary
Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

David W. Keith is a Canadian environmental scientist. He is director of the ISEEE Energy and Environmental Systems Group at the University of Calgary. He is a geoengineer and published research scientist. He is noted for his work in carbon dioxide air capture, and has been featured on Five ways to save the world on the Discovery channel.[1] In 2006 Keith was selected by Canadian Geographic as Environmental Scientist of the Year and Time's Heroes of the Environment (2009).[2]

By all means, please now back up your statement that his comparison is bankrupt with some form of proof. I think given the scale of air pollution, mining dangers and associated health issues and such makes his comparison quite a reasonable assertion.

Re:Alas, Rev. Bayes (4, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435904)

"Last week’s E. coli outbreak in Germany - potentially traced to an organic farm - was more deadly than the largest nuclear disaster of the last quarter-century."
-
"According to World Health Organization statistics on E. coli deaths, in just the past two years, more people have been killed by the disease than all fission-related events since the dawn of the nuclear age - even if you include the use of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

To put it into perspective.

Terrible question (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435564)

What a terrible question. You mean, is it wise to let people decide their own fate, versus letting an individual (let's call him "dictator for life") figure out the answers for them?

Absolutely awful question. ElementofDestruction and Soulskill should both go back to their civics class and figure out why democracy is important.

Re:Terrible question (2, Insightful)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435784)

No I believe the question is closer to "Should we let straight guys vote for number one gay, should we let youtubers vote on internet infrastructure designs, should we let Slashdot vote on best vag, and should Joe Frazier be on the HTML5 standards committee?" It's, you know, the basis for representative democracy. Vote for people smarter than you so they can educate themselves and vote on your behalf, because realistically you aren't qualified and don't have the time for well-informed decision making. This is one of those topics where maybe layman's opinion isn't what we should be basing our decisions on.

Re:Terrible question (2, Interesting)

klingens (147173) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435822)

Tell this the swiss. Their centuries old tradition of direct democracy was wrong all along!
I'm sure they will gratefully adopt only representative democracy so they can be saved from their abject poverty and misery.

PS: it's likely the Swiss will stop using nuclear power in the near future as well.

Re:Terrible question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435928)

Here's a situation for you, AC. You're 6 years old. Decide what you want to do for your career. Uninformed votes are as bad as dictatorial decisions.

Solution? (2, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435576)

What do you do when the voters are conditioned and misinformed and the majority is wrong?

Re:Solution? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435644)

What do you do when the voters are conditioned and misinformed and the majority is wrong?

Let them sit out a winter shivering in the dark. We *need* nuclear power. Wind power isn't a solution, because the turbines only last a few years and cannot easily be refurbished - and they don't work if there's no wind (like today) or too much wind (like last week). Hydro-electric? Yeah, let's just flood a few thousand square miles of mountain wilderness, that surely won't have *any* ecological impact!

Re:Solution? (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435676)

That's actually why we are a representative democratic republic and not a pure democracy. The "mob" doesn't always know what's best for itself and tends to be just a wee bit reactionary at times.

Re:Solution? (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435836)

Umm, NO. That's exactly NOT why we are a republic. The voting populace must be informed, or they will put a bunch of fools in office. The reason for having a republic is that a democracy requires a huge amount of time from every voter--imagine every citizen being in Congress, Parliament, etc.--and is thus incredibly hard to organize.

Re:Solution? (1, Offtopic)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435690)

What do you do when the voters are conditioned and misinformed and the majority is wrong?

I had a nightmare once that Bin Laden was trying to recruit me. He started his pitch with this exact sentence. Creepy.

Re:Solution? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435964)

What do you do when the voters are conditioned and misinformed and the majority is wrong?

Run your nuclear planet into the ground with cost cutting operations and then when it blows up, claim everyone against the concept is a Luddite hippie of course.

The US did this in the 1970's (5, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435582)

We did it de facto instead of de jure but the fact that we haven't built any new plants in 30 years means we have ultimately also given up on nuclear. The politicians caved to public fear and so made the process of permitting a plant to be so expensive as to make it economically impossible to continue to build new facilities. We will ultimately shut down our current plants and shift that generation to something else, it will just take longer.

Re:The US did this in the 1970's (5, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435682)

Actually, what we did is much, MUCH worse. From fear of nuclear power, we have halted all progress in nuclear technology, leaving ancient reactor designs in deployment, while new, safe designs sit on the drawing board.

In a real way, fear of nuclear power caused Fukushima. That plant should have been decommissioned a decade ago in favor of one of the new generation of power plants, maybe even one that burns thorium, meaning they could have gotten rid of all that waste they instead stuffed into the attic hoping no-one would ever find out.

Re:The US did this in the 1970's (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435816)

This whole conversation reminds me of the guys who insist that Vietnam was winnable. Nuclear died because it was uneconomical, costs were greater than just deaths (such as massive economic costs and long term illnesses), the Japanese who are about as efficient as any group on the planet couldn't do it safely -- as the Onion Put it "Nuclear Plants Perfectly Safe -- Unless Something Goes Wrong."

It's not that the majority is irrational, it's that you guys are as emotionally tied to dead nuclear as others are to a lost war.

Re:The US did this in the 1970's (0)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435960)

That plant should have been decommissioned a decade ago in favor of one of the new generation of power plants,

When you build a new plant anyway, why not a wind plant then? Everyone proclaiming to replace an old nuclear plant with a new nuclear plant forgets: you can as well build an alternative plant ...

Why slow progress ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435584)

Why do you associate this event with slowing down progress ? (or is that that you mean ?)

Slows down progress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435596)

As opposed to what? The usual corruption and lobbyism that grind progress to a halt for the sake of a select few?

This way there'll be more progress in the area of renewable energy. Nuclear energy is old and had no progress for quite some time.

Re:Slows down progress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435692)

Yeah man. Windmills are the new tech!!

Impartial? (4, Funny)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435598)

Holy biased summary, Batman!

Italia's earthquakes (2, Insightful)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435860)

Yeh, just for those who don't remember: Italia has frequent earthquakes, in all regions of the country:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_earthquakes_in_Italy [wikipedia.org]

Click on the epicentre cities to see where they are, dispersed along the length of the country.

Nuclear = "Progress"? Bonkers.

My favourite failed "trust technology!" argument was after the Fukushima quake when Sarkozy tried to reassure the French people by saying that France's nuclear power stations were the most advanced in the world. That's probably correct, and it would be a good point to make after a nuclear accident in a developing country, but this is Japan he was talking about.

Re:Impartial? (3, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435864)

Got any logical reason why shutting down an entire branch of energy generation should be treated with any less incredulity?

Hurrah! (0)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435602)


Another country dumping radiation!

I can only imagine a future where all countries abandon it and leave the planet free from radiation. There is a direct link between radiation use and unhealthy subluxations in humans. The more radiation used = the more subluxations. Look at every strip mall in your area, odds are there is a Chiropractor. Coincidence? No. Alternative medicine and its caregivers are at the forefront of subluxation, autism and cancer research.

Eat well, get plenty of rest, exercise, receive regular chiropractic adjustments to keep your nervous system performing at its peak. Most of all, avoid the BigPharma controlled "MD" system. They don't care about you, they just want your money.

Take care,
Bob.

Re:Hurrah! (0)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435710)

leave the planet free from radiation.

What kind of doctor are you?? Oh, nevermind.

Re:Hurrah! (1)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435728)


Doctor of Chiropractic. Why?

Re:Hurrah! (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435884)

Because you don't seem well educated. Radiation is a natural phenomenon and the earth will never be 'free' of it. Most high schoolers are aware of this.

From wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiropractic_education [wikipedia.org]

Although the U.S. Department of Education lists the D.C.M. (Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine) as a type of degree granted to chiropractors, the degree has never actually been conferred by any academic institution.

Re:Hurrah! (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435802)

...leave the planet free from radiation.

Ah, so now you want to blot out the sun?

Yes, they should be allowed to hold up progress (2)

gorim (700913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435604)

Yes. Majority opinion should be held so high, even if it trumps conceited arrogance assumptions of what is progress. Let me be clear, I fully support nuclear power, I think it should be expanded greatly, safely using advanced techniques. I think these countries are idiots for closing it down, but it is their democratic right, and don't anyone dare take that away from them.

Re:Yes, they should be allowed to hold up progress (3, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435706)

Sooo. If 51% of Americans voted to teach only creationism in schools and evolution should be illegal that should be ok by your rules?

Absolutely (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435890)

Eat your own dogfood or you're nothing but a hypocrite. If you have ever used majority rule to justify an attack on individual liberty (as nearly everybody on this website does), then naturally you will have no problem being on the losing team this time around.

Government isn't fair. Government will never be fair, because government cannot possibly be fair. The notion of an organization holding a special "right" to employ physical force as a business model was unfair before democracy, and it will continue to be unfair as long as human nature exists. Get used to it.

Re:Yes, they should be allowed to hold up progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435894)

Bad analogy. There are alternatives to nuclear power that have no effective change in the life of the end user.

A better analogy would be "Sooo. If 51% of Americans voted to ban stem-cell research in government funded labs, that should be ok by your rules?"

Run with that one.

Keep in mind that this ballot also contained initiatives on removing criminal immunity from a corrupt government, and preventing the privatization of the water supply system by his friends. There probably was some spillover from people voting yes on everything on that ballot. Italy's had some issues with rampant uncontrollable corruption over the last decade or two.

Re:Yes, they should be allowed to hold up progress (2)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435974)

As stupid as that would be, yes - i makes sense. The people get the government they deserve. You can always become a politician and try and change people's minds or leave. Your choice.

Re:Yes, they should be allowed to hold up progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435740)

Democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

Re:Yes, they should be allowed to hold up progress (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435766)

Yes. Majority opinion should be held so high, even if it trumps conceited arrogance assumptions of what is progress. Let me be clear, I fully support nuclear power, I think it should be expanded greatly, safely using advanced techniques. I think these countries are idiots for closing it down, but it is their democratic right, and don't anyone dare take that away from them.

Mod parent up. If the majority of people cote for something then they should get it, except when it directly infringes basic human rights of others (i.e. where most people want to kill the Jews/Gypsies/Blacks etc.)

Re:Yes, they should be allowed to hold up progress (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435796)

I agree. I would also add that if nuclear power has lost the support of the majority of people in the country, then those who view it as necessary for progress need to go out and start trying to convince people to change their minds. You don't just say "I know better than you", in a democracy. You convince other people to join you.

You know, try to educate people.

The other thing I would say is that these types of decisions aren't "forever". The Nuclear Industry can still operate in some countries, and if they could go for more than 25 years without a plant exploding and spewing fairly large amounts of radioactive stuff out into the air, groundwater, and ocean, the public will get more comfortable with it.

I would not be surprised if, in another 25 years or 30, Germany and/or Italy change their minds and begin building nuclear plants again. (By then, "nuclear" may well mean a fusion reactor, or we might still be using fission, who knows).

That said, I do also agree that many people are really overblowing the real human consequences (in terms of health effects which will likely result) from Fukushima. I'm pro-nuclear, but if the majority of households in a country vote against nuclear power, well, that's democracy.

Re:Yes, they should be allowed to hold up progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435814)

I think nuclear power is a great option and the best option we have for meeting growing power needs in the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, at least in my country (USA) nobody has yet proven that they can responsibly produce nuclear power. It's a miracle we have not had more "accidents" already. Used fuel is not recycled because of politics, plants are poorly built because of politics, greed, politics and more politics. Reasonable safety measures are not taken (long periods without inspections, no disaster recovery plans to prevent situations like Japan is in). Even the basic design of the reactors is dumb (could be using safer modern designs if they wanted to, but so much has been invested in the old dangerous designs that they don't want to stop using them...greed). I could go on.

Based on these observations, I can't in good conscience support it right now. I would vote to phase out all the plants too. And yes, there is no problem with the people making this decision. Who died and made you the god of environmental decisions?

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435608)

Italy renews contract to buy more nuclear generated power from the Ukraine.

Misleading summary (5, Informative)

mischi_amnesiac (837989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435612)

The summary is a bit misleading. In 1987 after the Tschernobyl disaster Italy had a public vote to abandon nuclear energy. The last reactor was shut down in 1990. This was only a vote against a re-entry into nuclear power, something Berlusconi was pushing forward.

Re:Misleading summary and law. (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435720)

Funny but they have not abandoned nuclear power. They are pretending they have to make themselves feel good. They import no less than 16% of their electricity from France. They have just move the responsibility for the reactors to another nation. As Italy needs more power they will import more from France and use even more nuclear power outside of their own control and regulation. This should be called the Grand Delusion. They are just going to use more and more nuclear power while taking no responsibility for it themselves.
Welcome to reality 101.

Re:Misleading summary and law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435760)

Clearly you don't live in Italy. You wouldn't use the word "reality" so easily...

Re:Misleading summary and law. (0)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435870)

so what? it's less risky for Italians to have it that way, and the the french who like nuclear can assume the risks and make money for doing so. I pay people to do dangerous things for me (like putting shingles on my roof), they take the care to have safety equipment, training, insurance, etc. You do the same thing. Win-win all around.

Re:Misleading summary and law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435978)

This is exactly correct, this goes on all the time in the US. We won't drill for oil or anything, but its fine if its in another country and not ours. Somehow that's green.

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435764)

The summary is a bit misleading. In 1987 after the Tschernobyl disaster Italy had a public vote to abandon nuclear energy. The last reactor was shut down in 1990. This was only a vote against a re-entry into nuclear power, something Berlusconi was pushing forward.

Not only was there a public vote for the reentry into nuclear power , but also 3 other public votes 2 to have the drinking water managed by private companies instead of the state and another public vote to have ministers & presidents have the right to postpone/stop any giuridical process during they'r political career, which was much wanted by Mr. B. due to the latest scandals he has been facing.

interesting premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435618)

The question contains the premise that nuclear power is progress. Why do you believe that? What are the implications of that assumption?

Democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435648)

"While democracy should trump all..."

Democracy is 2 wolves and 1 sheep voting on what is for dinner.

sometimes (1)

us7892 (655683) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435656)

>> is it wise to hold majority opinion so high that it slows down progress?

Sometimes.

Re:sometimes (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435834)

I say we should vote on it...

I really am losing hope for the future... (0)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435666)

But that started when George W. Bush got re-elected.

Re:I really am losing hope for the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435736)

...and you complain that Italians are living in the past

Re:I really am losing hope for the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435828)

beh almeno noi il passato ce l'abbiamo.

Re:I really am losing hope for the future... (3, Funny)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435808)

yeah, i remember when George Bush was a white republican, since his re-election to a third term he looks like a black democrat.

So where are they getting the power? (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435670)

Germany's at least committing to trying to do this in a nonpolluting (i.e. non-fossil-fuel) way, and they actually have the infrastructure and engineering acumen to pull it off (maybe).

Where's Italy going to get their power? Russian gas? Somebody's coal? Magic space faeries?

Fukushima notwithstanding, nuclear power is reasonably safe (a hell of a lot better than coal), very environment-friendly, and economical (compared to things like large-scale solar). The only reasonable alternative I can think of is to build a big turbine in the middle of Rome and harness all of the hot air that comes out of the Vatican.

Re:So where are they getting the power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435898)

Fukushima notwithstanding?......yeah...nuclear power is very safe...so long as there isn't any accidents. Yeah it is perfectly safe as long as everything works perfectly, nothing goes wrong etc. Otherwise it can precipitate the worst disasters imaginable. If it wasn't for massive huge government subsidies including indemnifying nuclear power producers from any liability (Price-Anderderson Nuclear Indemnification Act) nuclear power would have had a hard time even getting off the ground in the first place and would come to a grinding today if it wasn't for these continuing supports
 

what progress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435672)

What progress does it slow down? I't rather say that this vote forces search for alternative ways and so speeds up progress!

slows down progress (1, Insightful)

flex941 (521675) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435674)

While democracy should trump all, is it wise to hold majority opinion so high that it slows down progress?
I'm pretty sure going the nuclear way is actually not the progress. It was regression 50 years ago, it still is.

Re:slows down progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435892)

Yes, unless there was a dual ballot with "Withdraw into our caves." on it, I don't see why the Italians can't make progress in any other industry than Nuclear.

As an Italian... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435698)

As an Italian I can tell you that the outcome was clear since the beginning. This referendum was more a vote on Berlusconi than anything else, and it showed that he is done for good, he is not supported by the people anymore. Then, voting on the nuclear matter, just months after the Fukushima accident, might have skewed the results... (by the way the referendum was scheduled before the accident)

Re:As an Italian... (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435776)

And, now will the electorate be asked what source they do want to get power from, or will that be let up to someone else to figure out?

Idiocracy (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435718)

Next, a democratic majority of voters will elect to replace water with Brawndo.

http://brawndo.com/ [brawndo.com] .

Re:Idiocracy (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435824)

...what? You still drink water? Like out the toilet?

Re:Idiocracy (1)

heckler95 (1140369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435856)

It's got electrolytes!

Seriously though, I think the enlightened people who "know better" still need to respect the idea of pure democracy. If your country shifts toward a majority of people supporting something that you fundamentally disagree with, then you need to either try to shift the balance back to your perspective, or consider changing your allegiance to another country whose values are more in line with your own. Corrupting democracy by forcing something on people despite their votes because "it's for their own good" is a slippery slope that leads to dictatorship.

NB: the "you"s in the previous paragraph are not directed to the author of the parent, I just loved Idiocracy and chose to reply to this thread with my 2 cents

Re:Idiocracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435924)

Next, a democratic majority of voters will elect to replace water with Brawndo.

http://brawndo.com/ [brawndo.com] .

What's wrong with that? It's got what plants crave.

Wrong framing. (5, Insightful)

Helpadingoatemybaby (629248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435724)

"Slow down progress?" That's just terribly obvious framing. Actually by voting this way they're speeding up progress towards modern renewables. After all, nuclear fission technology is not a "modern" technology, it's over a half century old and it's simply not needed anymore (Bonneville Power Administration shut down its nuclear plant for refueling and their coal plant was shut down because it was unnecessary and still had excess power to export -- 100% from renewables so please, please don't post stupidly about "baseline" power.)

They're in a particularly sunny climate, there are already rolling out solar thermal storage systems so that their solar can generate 24 hours per day, They have tidal sources which France used to generate hundreds of megawatts back in the 60's out of a single installation -- ignoring the efficiency increases of what we can do today.

Fuel is finite, so fuel based sources are out of date. Meanwhile, renewables just keep coming down in price. Solar dropped 20% last year alone, and is expected to drop another 20% this year. Meanwhile, nuclear keeps increasing in cost. Costs for implementation, fuel, owner's costs, massive grid tie-ins, and let's not even discuss the fact that they don't pay for their own insurance and push that on to the public purse in the event of a catastrophe.

So "progress?" I don't think that word means what you think it does. The first world has made it's decision and you can flog the dead horse of nuclear, but the only new adopters will be the third world and powers that want to refine for nuclear weapons, such as arabic countries, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Re:Wrong framing. (1)

Scottingham (2036128) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435848)

"Fuel is finite"

True, but misleading. Traveling wave reactors extend our fissile material by 1000s of years.

I would not call nuclear power a dead horse. Boiling water and light water reactors, sure.

High tech nuclear power is the only source of power we have to be able to deploy exponential electricity rapidly. Why would we need that? For the robot welfare state!

~Scott

Re:Wrong framing. (3, Insightful)

scotts13 (1371443) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435854)

So "progress?" I don't think that word means what you think it does. The first world has made it's decision and you can flog the dead horse of nuclear, but the only new adopters will be the third world and powers that want to refine for nuclear weapons, such as arabic countries, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Yes, progress. It's clear that fossil fuels aren't viable even in the medium term, and unless we stop our population growth or drastically change lifestyles, "renewable" isn't going to cut it, either. The "future" ultimately, can and must be fusion. And we aren't going to get it by abandoning high technology, high energy density engineering. Though they aren't directly related, fission makes a good trainer for fusion. Teaches you to be CAREFUL.

Democracy Should Trump All? Aside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435726)

Ugh. Please take the time to read up a little more on your civics.

Democracy should NOT trump all. Democracy is 51% telling the other 49% what it thinks is right. Tyrany of the majority and so forth.

Democracy has its best (and really, only) chance of working well in a small, homogeneous population which a high degree of shared values -- nobody gets badly trampled.

Switzerland makes a good effort at it, but even threre, the French and German speaking cantons are always bickering over issues, with the French side usually getting muffled in the vote.

Democracy is not about being wise (2)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435730)

Democracy is not about being wise is about respecting the will of the majority. It's about not imposing stuff, even if you consider it to be better, on the majority. Democratic process doesn't optimize the decision (it doesn't come to the best decision) it (or is supposed to) minimizes the discontent.

If it is what they want... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435734)

If it is what the people want than it is their choice and they should strive to be a better democracy with informed decision making (like every country should). If their representatives made a choice that the majority disapproved of then it is a failed democracy.

Odd how tyranny is advocated when it's "for the good of the people".

Holding up progress?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435742)

As someone else already said, Italy doesn't have any nuclear plant. They were all shut down after Tschernobyl.
Starting to build a new nuclear power plant now means that it will take 2-3 years to make the design and plans, find the right place and so on. Then years to build it and then the usual years to have it operational. Which means that the first power plant would have been operational not sooner than 10-15 years.
Italy missed the nuclear wave in '87 after the fear-driven vote. Now it was no point in starting again, when all technicians were gone abroad.
In 15 years probably we'll have other sources of power.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435754)

While democracy should trump all, is it wise to hold majority opinion so high that it slows down progress?"

While I think all the recent nuclear hysteria is sad, the answer to that question is an extremely solid Yes. Progress is desirable, but responsive government is necessary, even if it does bad things. Why? Because even the bad things it does, aren't as bad as everything else, which is worse. This is why I actually favor a democracy over a republic. A republic might have better performance and make better decisions, but that doesn't change that the populace is having to live with a government that constantly tells them to go fuck themselves.

Italy is an energy slave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435756)

Italy is, and always will be an energy slave. While neighboring France thrives producing and exporting their own nuclear power, Italy keeps on saying they don want nuclear plants but keep on buying electricity produced by France. Italy imports all its energy. The only chance for Italy to be energy self sufficient is nuclear.
A shrinking economy, unemployment, bat politics, and no energy. Well done Italians, keep on reading "Il corriere" instead of reading books.

I voted against: here is why (5, Interesting)

DMiax (915735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435762)

There is more to this decision than simple "anti-scientific" feelings.

First of all there is the trust we can have in people managing these beasts, i.e. zero. Our administrators are not the ones with public safety in mind. Google some info about two years' ago earthquake to see how well regulation on constructions works.

Second and related, public works in Italy (and many private ones) are often just a way to throw money at your business friends. It is unlikely that something so big will be done in the most efficient and quick way. Most probably it will never recover the expenses, if it ever gets built.

Third there is the timing problem. We are late to the train. Other countries alread recovered the initial expenses and only have to keep mantaining/improving. They can undercut us easily and we would end up buying from them anyway. (also notice we did not have plans for an erichment plant, so we would have to buy enriched uranium...)

Fourth and related, the plants will arrive in no less than 20 years. Then this is essentially a bet on the price of uranium in 20 years. With many developing countries building plants I think this bet is a losing one...

But yes, I am stupid and I only want to slow progress down, laugh at me.

Re:I voted against: here is why (2)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435896)

But yes, I am stupid and I only want to slow progress down, laugh at me.

haha.. you made an informed decision..... jerk

Re:I voted against: here is why (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435956)

Sounds like Italy might be a good candidate to be an early adopter of the LFTR - Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor [energyfromthorium.com] .

"First of all there is the trust we can have in people managing these beasts"

* The physics and chemistry of LFTRs is very favorable for safety. Still need trained professionals building and running them, but they should be an order of magnitude safer - no high pressure steam, no hydrogen explosions, passive cooling.

"Third there is the timing problem. We are late to the train."

But, perhpas you can be "on-time" for the LFTR train. Catch an early train and beat most others to the destination.

"(also notice we did not have plans for an erichment plant, so we would have to buy enriched uranium...)"

* Nice thing about LFTRs is, while they need an initial startup charge of enriched fissile material (a "seed" if you will), they do not need on-going enriched fuel. After you have a few up and running, the existing LFTRs should be able to provide the fissile startup seed for new LFTRs. Also, don't need Uranium.

There is a lot of Thorium in the world (probably some in Italy, but not sure), and since almost no one is using it (at least yet), it should be cheap - it's currently a waste product of other industrial mining activities.

Re:I voted against: here is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435970)

Why don't you use a MODERN reactor design that doesn't use uranium. You sound like you are talking about obsolete technologies.

Can't say I'm surprised (1)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435810)

Given the way things have been reported and discussed, I can't say I'm surprised. Dissappointed yes, but not surprised. I won't go into detail about how completely over the top people have been regarding these incidents (hell, one person told me that MILLIONS of people died at Chernobyl) because that's been well documented now.

The part that upsets me is that, as far as I understand it, all the incidents could have been prevented, or at least mitigated far more than they were. Chernobyl should have been entirely preventable. Hell, it shouldn't have happened in the first place. Three Mile Island. Preventable. Fukushima, while not preventable outright, they were asking for a catastrophe due to poor design decisions. What do these incidents have in common? Tight fisted management who valued profit over all else. They didn't do anything that wasn't absolutely necessary to keep the plant running, which resulted in sloppy maintenance. In the case of Fukushima, no effort was made to fix known shortcomings in the design.

I think these decisions to abandon nuclear isn't (solely) a verdict on nuclear energy itself. It's a a collapse of trust in the companies that run these plans because, well, they've demonstrated they they are undeserving of that trust.

The practice of decommissioning is big business. (2)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435832)

Start with the wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] , I guess.

You can't just turn off a nuclear power plant. The short version is decommissioning any nuclear power plant is ~60 years of work and billions of dollars. This is a "best case" scenario. Worst case is something like Japan right now.

I guess the original modernist mentality was that once the plants were ready for the scrap yard, they saved some of their massive profits to pay to take it apart and manage the waste for a few decades.

The reality turned out to a bunch of corrupt assholes cutting corners for a few decades and now your tax dollars are at work for a new bunch of assholes who get paid astronomically more because no one wants a meltdown situation; with good reason.

Slam! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435866)

Ya, this is another slam to our Government.
In Italy we don't need the nuclear power... Only with the solar, eolic and hydroelectric power we can send energy to the other states!!
Also... in Italy you want build a nuclear power plant??? In Italy??? With this governement????
Yes right... Mafia will build the factory... so another nuclear disaster is on its way.

Someone say:
"US coal power fleet kills 10,000 a year; Fukushima will kill under 100, total. We are very bad at evaluating risks."

- David Keith, Canada Research Chair in Energy and the Environment, University of Calgary

YES! But the coal power kill 10.000 people a year and then the effects STOPS!!!
With the nuclear power if there is any cataclysm more people, more children will be affected!!! Watch what happen @ Chernobyl!
Now the children born with CANCER And with malformations!! All because of the nuclear power!
That's so clear energy.

Yes i'm italian and i voted to STOP the Nuclear Power in Italy!

Re:Slam! (1)

LyannaStark (2266168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435966)

Sorry.. i was not logged in... this post is mine

Misunderstanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435876)

this is not quite right. In Italy nuclear power is not currently operative!! What the government wanted was to start building NEW nuclear structures, that would have been done in God knows how many years. What is important to say is that Nuclear in Italy has been removed in 1987, after another Referendum. And today the politics tried to re-instate it for economic (for THEIR economy, not Italy's) reasons. To summarise, in Italy it is NOT a shutdown but a DON"T START.

Nuclear power is not the future for sure, not the way it is at least. And we don't want to throw away money for a not-renowable source of energy. The government will need to invest in renewable energy hopefully now.

"is it wise to hold majority opinion (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435886)

so high that it slows down progress"?

progress occurs in general society. progress does not occur in a special class, that then imposes its idea of "progress" on the supposedly unenlightened commoners. this idea of progress is elitist, and doomed to fail by provoking mistrust and a backlash

the cost of involving the general pubic is that progress is slow and messy. the gain is that progress is genuine and true, society-wide

because the real problem is not slowing down progress, the real problem is that plenty of people assume they have a superior idea about what progress is, and they are often wrong. if such people are an empowered elite, they can destroy a country with bad ideas about what progress is. only the court of public opinion matters on the question of progress. real progress is baby steps, and stumbles. it is about picking what seems to be the best new idea, then modifying it, feedback. progress is not some obvious linear clean highway to the future that can be engaged at 100 mph. progress only looks like this in historical hindsight. if you meet someone with a clear idea of what progress should be, without any doubt about them at all, you have encountered a dangerous idiot who doesn't know what real progress is

change in society has a certain steady rate. too fast, and you'll embrace bad ideas and destroy the country. too slow, and you'll stagnate and more nimble societies will pass you by. the trouble is achieving a balance. but this is the essential problem of life: balance. progress not too fast. progress not too slow

slows down progress? (1)

dynamo (6127) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435900)

You mean, is it wise to allow people to make the decision by vote directly rather than indirectly - but still by voting - on who gets to make the decision in secret?

Uh, generally, yeah, it's at least as wise. Once elections join the 21st century and are done with a level of security and quick tabulation technology matching that of, say, modern marketing surveys, it will be much more wise.

it wise to hold majority opinion so high that it s (1)

Gugliandalf (1873586) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435902)

What nuclear fission power has to do with progress?

Which progress? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435916)

While democracy should trump all, is it wise to hold majority opinion so high that it slows down progress?"

Which progress exactly is slowed down? The progress in grid technology and alternative energy production?

Idiocracy my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435920)

I see you don't know squat about Italy. Here we have no nuclear power because it was banished in 1987 with another referendum, then that was "idiocracy". Today with no nuclear plants it would have been a moronic task starting building them to have them working in twenty or so years. Don't you think so?

They won't accept the consequences (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435922)

Consequences to natural gas: Russia is the biggest supplier in Europe. Why become a Western vassal of Putin?

Consequence to coal: you're guaranteeing the environmental damage that is theoretical with nuclear power. Plus, it's Italy. The Camorra will probably end up in charge of some aspect of the power that'll make life suck for the environment and public health.

Consequences of wind and solar: good luck funding this build out since you're on the short list of the next European states to have debt default problems. Even if that works, they can only be part of the strategy for a long time.

If you raised these issues with the average voter, they'd probably look at you like a slack-jawed idiot. "Wuuuuhhhhh we have to 'pick our poison'?"

And when electricity rates go up or Putin starts politely telling Italy where it's going and what it'll do when it gets there, they'll be mad as hell.

:P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435930)

That's why democracy sucks :) Nuclear power is CLEAN and efficient.

They will probably make more damage to the ecosystem using other forms of power plants.

German Organic Farm (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435940)

That German organic farm which was the source of the recent e coli outbreak will kill more people than the Japanese nuclear meltdown and the Gulf oil spill combined.

Slow progress ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36435950)

Confirming other comments, there is no nuclear power in use now in Italy, and the country is a big importer from a foreign nuclear source, namely France. The vote was just a show, as everything is in Italy since memory serves. What progress ?

Morons (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 3 years ago | (#36435976)

we had the chance to undo the terrible mistake we did 25 years ago, but again people proved to be a bunch of morons following FUD spreaded by politician that transformed this into a political matter rather than scientific
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