Activists Declare Nuclear Age Dead End

Feature story - 23 September, 2008
Activists turned the front of the Turkish Ministry of Energy into a mortuary to highlight the deadly risks involved with establishing a nuclear industry in Turkey. On the eve of a nuclear tender from the Turkish government, 37 activists from Greenpeace and Global Action Group were arrested after they took to the street to protest the dangerous decision.

Activists were arrested after protesting the possible development of two new nuclear plants in Turkey.

Activists unfurled a banner demanding a "STOP" to nuclear energy and laid themselves on the line with a "die in" on the street in front of the ministry. The protest ended when the 37 activists were arrested, but they were later released without charge. 

Turkey is currently nuclear-free and is considering nuclear energy as a quick and cheap fix to its energy needs.  But nuclear energy is anything but quick or cheap. In addition to being extremely dangerous and dirty, nuclear energy will be a huge financial burden on the people of Turkey. Greenpeace is urging the government to cancel the nuclear tender and invest in clean, safe renewable alternatives and greater energy efficiency.

Not quick but very dirty

Despite the hundreds of billions of US dollars that have been given to the global nuclear industry in the past fifty years, we still haven't seen a solution to the issues raised by waste and security problems. A nuclear reactor produces around 25-30 tonnes of nuclear waste annually. This means an additional 12,000 - 14,000 tonnes of waste are added to the already existing stockpiles of nuclear waste every year. After recent radiation leaks in Spain and incidents at plants in France, Sweden and Japan, you can't help but wonder just how close we are to another Chernobyl. France leads as an example of how dangerous nuclear energy can be, with approximately 900 incidents a year.

Nuclear: an economic disaster

Along with not being able to deal with all the risks, nuclear power is an economic disaster. Because of increasing costs and construction time, companies do not want to invest. Neither the World Bank nor the Asian Development Bank will give credits to the nuclear projects on the grounds that they are too risky financially.

This means tax payers need to take the burden. The two nuclear projects currently under construction in Turkey are about three times over budget, and when the plants complete their lifetime, decommissioning and cleaning will present yet another bill for the taxpayer. It is unacceptable that the Turkish government wants to spend its citizens hard-earned billions of liras on dirty, dangerous and expensive nuclear power stations.

The time has come for an Energy [R]evolution. Let's not fall back on power from the past. We've come up with a plan to move from a world powered by nuclear and fossil fuels to one running on renewable energy. Download the blueprint for an Energy [R]evolution:

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