Despite their last three tenders for a nuclear power plant in the Akkuyu region of Turkey failing, the country’s government is pressing on with another on September 24. Thirteen companies have expressed an interest in bidding for the contract to build the plant in the southern province of Mersin.
To show opposition to the plans, Greenpeace activists staged a ‘die-in’ in front of Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler. ‘Instead of acting as a spokesperson of the nuclear lobby, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler should focus on real solutions for our energy needs,’ said activist Korol Diker, ‘These solutions are clean, renewable energies and energy efficiency. Altough the government tries to silence the opposition, the voice of reason should be heard. This is why we are here today.’
Back 1998 a earthquake registering 6.0 on the Richter Scale struck Southern Turkey. Dozens of people were killed, hundreds injured and thousands made homeless. Akkuyu is set close to the Ecemis Fault, an active faultline. Thanks to more than 30 years old licence to the area, there is no requirement for a study for faultlines in Akkuyu. It’s the perfect place to put a nuclear reactor, don’t you think?
In addition, the bidding process is already being rigged. In the face of the global economic crisis, companies wanting to bid for the contract are demanding guarantees from the Turkish government that they will be compensated in the event of problems with the new reactor, it needing to be shutdown or whatever.
You have to admit that it’s a brilliant strategy. You wouldn’t let a child cheat at a game of cards but governments all around the world are happy to let nuclear companies try and make sure they never lose. This fear of risk makes you wonder how executives of reactor builders have the courage to get out of bed in a morning. And yet they keep telling us nuclear power is perfectly safe – if it’s so safe, why the need for financial guarantees?
Could the situation get any worse? Yes it could actually. France’s nuclear multinational Areva, the company responsible for the reactor construction nightmares at Flamanville and Olkiluoto is reported to be interested in bidding for the contract.
Turkey, do you know what you’re letting yourself in for? Please stop the tender. Now.
(For more information in Turkish, please visit Greenpeace Turkey. An account of the action in Turkish is here.) More photos available here.
Photographs copyright Greenpeace/Aslihan Tumer