Following the turmoil that the Fukushima nuclear plant has started since this time last week, Uygar Ozesmi, Greenpeace’s Mediterranean director combats Turkey’s plans for building new nuclear power plants in his country, reasoning that the construction site is only a few miles away from fault lines, where high-magnitude quakes could occur at any time.
Turkey actually wants to build two nuclear power plants: one on the Mediterranean coast and one on the Black Sea coast. Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s Prime Minister, said on Wednesday that the construction technology of the two new plans is far superior of that from Fukushima, and that they wouldn’t be affected by quakes, whatsoever.
The fact is that small eartquakes happen in Turkey on a daily basis. “It is a mistake to go nuclear after what has happened in Japan,” said Ozesmi at a news conference (quoted by Reuters). “In a quake-prone country like Turkey, you cannot launch a nuclear power industry.”
He also counters the ministry’s claims that the third-generation nuclear plants won’t be affected, by saying that any conceivable power plant would need cooling, which is prone to breaking in the case of an earthquake. “Regardless of the dangers of an earthquake, nuclear technology itself is the main risk,” Ozesmi said. “Whatever generation you use requires a cooling system, and when we look at any major nuclear incident, the cooling system is at fault.”
Instead, Turkey should concentrate on its huge alternative energy resources, such as solar and wind, that should fill in the need for supplying 20% of the electricity production from clean resources by 2030. They thought so far that the best option was nuclear.
Hayrettin Kilic, a nuclear physicist who fights against nuclear power said that the Japanese technology Turkey wants to use has in fact Russian origins, does not comply with the Western standards, and has cooling weaknesses similar to the Fukushima plant.
Despite all of these protests, the government seems hard to convince. Erdogan says “there are things that human power is inadequate to prevent, like natural disasters. This will not affect our plans and schedule for the nuclear power plant.”
I understand his statement, you can’t just cancel a business having the importance of a nuclear power plant, but you have to look beyond money and open-heartedly approve something you really believe is not going to affect your people and its surroundings.