Italians have delivered a humiliating defeat to Silvio Berlusconi by voting overwhelmingly against nuclear power in a referendum.

An overwhelming majority of Italians show up at the polls with 94 per cent of them voted yes to scrap Berlusconi’s plan to reintroduce nuclear power despite the Prime Minister’s call for the electorate to boycott of the referendum.

”We accept the clear results of the referendum,” Berlusconi said, after voters rejected the most significant pieces of legislation introduced by his government since he was re-elected three years ago.

“We will have to commit strongly to the renewable energy sector.” He conceded

Nuclear power was abandoned in Italy after the Chernobyl disaster in 1987. The referendum result suggests that the recent The Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, triggered by an earthquake is obviously still fresh in peoples minds.

The electorate also voted against privatising the country’s water utilities and rejected the idea that government ministers should be immune from prosecution.

The referendum defeats show the scandal-riven Berlusconi to be out of favour with the majority of Italians.