Nuclear separation in Turkey

ANKARA - While some academicians and non-governmental organizations supported the Turkish government`s plans for establishment of nuclear power plants in Turkey, some others opposed it.

Prof. Dr. Mustafa Ozcan Ultanir of the Ankara University, who also acts as chairman of Wind Energy & Hydro-Power Plants Businessmen`s Association (RESSIAD), said, ``we should benefit from renewable energy sources and nuclear energy to protect environment. Therefore, we have been supporting nuclear energy from the very beginning. When taking into consideration Turkey`s long-term electricity demands, Turkey should inevitably use nuclear energy.``

Prof. Dr. Orhan Yesin from the Middle East Technical University (METU) Department of Mechanical Engineering said, ``nuclear power plants will play an important role in efforts to diversify energy sources and to provide qualified and cheap electricity. I think that nuclear power plants are better than thermoelectric power plants since they do not emit greenhouse gases. Today, concerns about global warming have been increasing day by day. Since the Kyoto Protocol entailed countries to restrict emissions of greenhouse gases, nuclear energy has come to the forefront again. Turkey attempted to establish nuclear power plants for four times between the years of 1960 and 2000, but yielded no results. Now, we have the necessary technical infrastructure. Recently, Turkey has launched a new initiative to establish three nuclear power plants. Authorities are expected to make a choice from high-tech reactor types. We should prefer one of the third-generation reactor types such as EPR, ABWR, AP1000 and CANDU.``

Independent Industrialists` & Businessmen`s Association (MUSIAD) Chairman Omer Bolat and Ankara Chamber of Industry (ASO) Chairman Zafer Caglayan also supported the government`s plans for nuclear power plants.

Caglayan said, ``those who oppose to establishment of nuclear power plants in Turkey should not forget the fact that there have already been similar plants in the neighboring countries. Turkey needs a national energy strategy. Establishment of nuclear power plants in Turkey will create a great atmosphere for investments.``

Meanwhile, Prof. Dr. Inci Gokmen from the METU Department of Chemistry, opposed to establishment of nuclear power plants in Turkey. ``Except for Finland, any western countries have not established a new nuclear power plant since 1978. They closed down their existing plants. The West needs a new market to sell its nuclear technology. That market should not be our country. Nuclear power plants contain extremely complicated technologies. Also, Turkey will have to import fuel for those power plants. The issue of nuclear waste is another serious problem. We should benefit from domestic and renewable energy sources instead of establishing nuclear power plants.``

Chamber of Turkish Electrical Engineers (EMO) Chairman Kemal Ulusaler called on the government to stop its initiatives immediately.

``We will try all legal remedies to prevent establishment of nuclear power plants. If the government insists on its plans, we will start a judicial struggle,`` he said.

Ertugrul Unluturk, chairman of Chamber of Turkish Environment Engineers, defended, ``nuclear power plants are now considered out-dated technology. However, our government ignores the problem of nuclear waste, risk of nuclear accidents and possible impacts of such plants on environment and public health. Important capital groups in Turkey have come together to invest in nuclear power plants. They will hold a meeting at the Turkish Ministry of Energy & Natural Resources on May 12th to discuss their future shares. During the meeting, they will try to plan an investment which will jeopardize our health and our future.``

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