LET'S STOP THE AKKUYU
NUCLEAR PLANT IN TURKEY
From: Dave Martin, Nuclear Awareness Project
Thank you & No Nukes!
NATURE OF THE APPEAL
In March I visited Turkey as a guest of Greenpeace International on a tour to speak about the proposal to build a nuclear power plant at Akkuyu Bay on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. I came back from that tour re-invigorated and impressed by the similarity of the struggle around the world to oppose the 'conventional' electricity technologies such as nuclear and coal generation, and support efficiency and renewable energy.
Whether in the small farming community of Buyukeceli near Akkuyu, or in the big cities of Istanbul and Ankara, Turkish citizens understand very well the risks of nuclear development and the benefits of a system that emphasizes conservation and renewables.
Many groups and individuals endorsed the "Ottawa Declaration - - No CANDU for Turkey" issued by the Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout in September 1997. I am now asking for as many groups and individuals as possible to write several letters to continue our campaign to stop the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu.
In December 1996, the Turkish state electrical utility TEAS (Turkish Electricity Generation and Transmission Company) invited bids from foreign reactor vendors for the construction of a 100% financed nuclear power station to be built at Akkuyu Bay on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. TEAS is expected to pick a winning nuclear vendor to construct the plant as early as July or August 1998.
There are three international consortia bidding:
The vendors' main bids are as follows:
For more detailed background on this issue, please consult a report that I wrote last year, entitled "The CANDU Syndrome: Canada's Bid to sell reactors to Turkey". It was published by Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout, and is posted in full on the web sites of the Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout and the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
The Right Hon. Jean Chretien
Prime Minister of Canada
Room 309-S, Centre Block, House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 [Postage Free]
The Hon. Ralph Goodale
Minister of Natural Resources
Room 175, East Block, House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 [Postage Free]
Sayin Mesut Yilmaz
FAX +90 312 417 0476
Sayin Cumhur Ersumer
Enerji ve Tabii Kaynaklar Bakani
Enerji ve Tabii Kaynaklar Bakanligi
Devlet Konya Yolu Uzeri
Bestepi, Ankara, Turkey
FAX +90 312 212 2973
POINTS FOR LETTERS TO
PRIME MINISTER JEAN CHRÉTIEN AND
NATURAL RESOURCES MINISTER RALPH GOODALE
Turkey is demanding 100% financing of the Akkuyu plant, even including the local costs, which will be to its direct economic benefit. It is not clear if Turkey will provide a `hard' sovereign guarantee of the debt. In addition, there are crucial questions about: the absence of risk insurance on the loans; whether the vendor will be required to provide a performance guarantee; who will make up the shortfall in case of cost overruns; and the degree to which vendors will have to transfer their manufacturing and marketing rights. There have also been suggestions that Turkey is demanding "counter-trade" agreements - - a carpets for nukes deal!
The dark underside of nuclear power has always been its potential for nuclear weapons proliferation, either through the production of plutonium - - an inevitable byproduct of reactor operation - - or through the transfer of sensitive nuclear information, technology and materials. Since the early 1980s there have been reports that Turkey has aided Pakistan in its acquisition of nuclear weapons. Turkey's attempt to build the Argentinean CAREM-25 reactor was likely aimed at plutonium production for nuclear weapons.
Terrorists do not need nuclear weapons if they can trigger a catastrophic radiation release by sabotaging or bombing a nuclear power plant. Potential security threats to a nuclear plant in Turkey would be both internal and external. Turkey has been in a virtual state of civil war for more than a decade, and the longstanding military conflict with Greece over control of Cyprus is again heating up. Cyprus is directly offshore from proposed nuclear station at Akkuyu Bay.
Turkey has a long history of gross human rights abuses, and these abuses have worsened in recent years. Abuses include systematic, widespread torture and murder of prisoners in custody; death squad murders; disappearances; restrictions on freedom of speech; and incommunicado detention without legal representation. A virtual state of war with Kurdish rebels has resulted in an estimated 20,000 deaths since 1984 and the displacement of two million people in the southeastern provinces, where a state of emergency is in place.
Turkey does not provide a secure environment for a risky, multi-billion dollar, long-term nuclear investment. There have been four military coups in recent years in Turkey in 1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997. On June 18, 1997, the democratically elected Prime Minister, Necmettin Erbakan, was forced to resign by the military and Mesut Yilmaz, leader of the conservative Motherland Party, was named Prime Minister. The intense political instability of Turkey in 1996-97 has also destabilized the country's economy. Annual inflation in Turkey is over 80%. The annual deficit is about $15 billion, and the country's debt is about $100 billion.
The risk of earthquake damage is a serious consideration for the Akkuyu nuclear site. One analyst has stated, "There is a probability of 50% that an earthquake of magnitude 7 Richter or more will occur within 100 kms of Akkuyu Bay within the next 40 years."
The Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus) is one of the ten most endangered species in the world, with only about 200 seals left in existence. There is a seal colony on islands in the mouth of Akkuyu Bay. The water intake and sea traffic for the plant will pose a real danger to the seals.
All reactor designs share certain basic safety and environmental risks - - namely the risk of catastrophic accidents; the problem of routine emission of radioactive pollutants; as well as the production of radioactive waste and the ultimate problem of reactor decommissioning.
Turkey has a relatively low per capita electricity consumption. This is an opportunity rather than a problem. Turkey has an opportunity to avoid the mistake of investing in nuclear power that has been made in many countries. A truly sustainable energy future in Turkey will be based on efficiency and renewable energy not nuclear power.
Throughout the western world, nuclear power has been put on hold. It is widely recognized that nuclear power is the highest cost option for electricity generation, and carries significant environmental, safety, and economic risks not shared by other forms of generation. Nuclear performance is often poor, resulting in even higher costs. Nuclear power plants typically have very long lead time for design, approval, and construction, in addition to high capital cost. Disguised costs include radioactive waste management and reactor decommissioning.
The construction of a nuclear power plant on the Mediterranean Sea will do irreparable damage to Turkey's valuable and growing tourism industry. Construction of the Akkuyu nuclear plant will drive tourists away, and could lead to a boycott of Turkey as a tourist destination.