Thursday, April 03, 2008

Turkey in the Straw

Bianet, a Turkish news outlet that publishes in English, reports that the Global Action Group, "among them many well-known singers, actors and intellectuals," are not too happy that Turkey is considering building a nuclear energy plant.

Here are their complaints. Take a deep breath; you've heard it all before.

Every nuclear power plant creates waste, and no country has yet to find a satisfactory solution for that waste. It represents an ecological problem, whether it be buried or thrown into the sea.

Nuclear power plants are dangerous. Like everywhere else, people in Turkey still remember the disaster of Chernobyl. Should there be a leak in a power plant, all living beings in a wide radius would be affected, people would die or become ill, and ecosystems would be wiped out.

Nuclear power plants are not sensible investments. While it takes around 5 billion dollars to build one, building delays can make the costs spiral. For Turkey, wind and solar energy are alternatives which would make financial and environmental sense. They are not being exploited sufficiently at the moment, but that is no excuse for not rethinking the country’s energy policy.

Instead of nuclear power plants, Turkey needs energy efficiency and conservation.

The second point has a apocalyptic zeal that's fairly entertaining if not very plausible. Throw in a giant lizard and the circle of nuclear life is complete.


A closer look at Bianet suggests that Turkey, or at least Bianet, is troubled by nuclear energy on many fronts.

See here:

The Chamber of Electrical Engineers, (EMO), said they object to plans to build a nuclear energy plant, brought onto agenda by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler. "Nobody has the right to drag Turkey into new disasters and to turn the country into a garbage dump for the nuclear plant market lobbyists," said EMO.

And here:

The Turkey Environmental Platform (TÜRÇEP) has announced that "there will be no votes for those who support the building of nuclear power stations, those who close their ears to our demands for decarbonisation, those who ignore renewable energy and possible energy savings."

Of course, it's hard to say from these articles how broad-based the opposition is in Turkey and how much is being whipped up by the media there.

Here's some background on what Turkey is doing:

The Turkish Electricity Trading and Contracting Co. Inc. (TETAŞ) will accept the bids, after which the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) will conduct an inspection to ascertain if the applicants meet the necessary technical and financial requirements. TETAŞ will select one company among the bidders and will submit the name of this company to the Cabinet for approval.

The ministry will assign the winning company suitable land free of charge. In addition to this, the company will also be given a guarantee that the state will purchase electricity from it until 2031 at a specified minimum price to prevent operating losses.

See the site for a full article. Nuclear energy may may not have created any tumult beyond the usual suspects, but if any of our Turkish friends visits the site, perhaps they can comment further.

1 comment:

djysrv said...

I've covered Turkey's plans for nuclear energy in detail including the evolution of the currently released tender. The country current political leadership has invested a lot in building a policy and business case for three reactors and to supply 20% of the nation's electricity from nuclear energy.