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Process and the Development of Black Insurgency

nuclear energy policy change yields two explanatory paths (see table 9). The first path suggests that the combined presence of social movement mobilization and antinuclear public opinion, along with the absence of political allies in parliament, led to nuclear energy policy change. This covers the case of Italy for protest events occurring in 1986. The high level of protest can be explained as a reaction immediately after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown accident in 1986, when public opinion was also strongly against nuclear power plants after the accident (although 60 percent of the population was already against nuclear energy in 1984). As for political allies in parliament, this denotes a quasi-unanimous support for nuclear energy among Italian political parties before Chernobyl, except for the Radical Party, a small opposition party, and some local political bureaus (Diani 1994). Despite such poor political alliances, the antinuclear coalition managed to change the nuclear energy policy. Indeed, right after the Chernobyl accident, all major parties except for the Christian Democrats switched to an antinuclear stance (Diani 1994). Soon thereafter, the last strong pro-nuclear party, the Christian Democrats, also joined the antinuclear coalition, just before the scheduled antinuclear referendum in 1987, with the hope of minimizing the importance of this referendum (Diani 1994). Therefore, despite a weak official political alliance, the antinuclear movement gained much support, albeit politically motivated, from the rest of the political parties after the Chernobyl accident. Thus, although the case of 1986 Italian nuclear energy policy appears to be the direct result of an external shock (Chernobyl), which was well exploited by antinuclear stances and therefore did not need any institutional support to bring about change, it was facilitated by the fragmented institutional network surrounding nuclear energy policy in Italy that allowed the nuclear Mobilization 478 referenda to take place and pushed the political parties to secure a popular position vis-à-vis the nuclear issue. The 1987 referendum on nuclear energy policy resulted in a nuclear moratorium which eventually killed the prospects for Italian nuclear energy development.