VENICE — It seemed incredible when drama rolled off the screen and onto the streets at Venice during its recent film festival. People played loud music, beat drums, blew trumpets and clashed cymbals to protest the government’s decision to locate a nuclear reactor just 20 kilometers away from this ancient and exquisitely beautiful city on the Adriatic Sea.

Despite massive public opposition to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s decision to build four nuclear power plants, Rome is going ahead with the plan. After the Chernobyl disaster, two-thirds of Italians had voted in a 1987 referendum to ban nuclear energy in their country.

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