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Chernobyl still haunts Turkey´s Black Sea coast
1.       si++
3785 posts
 19 Mar 2011 Sat 10:21 am

Chernobyl still haunts Turkey´s Black Sea coast

 

As the nuclear threat at Japan’s Fukushima power plant continues, the incident brings to mind the disastrous explosion in Chernobyl 25 years ago. Although government officials still deny that Chernobyl has increased cancer cases in Turkey, doctors and people in the Black Sea region do not agree
This file photo shows workers cleaning up wreckage and debris after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

This file photo shows workers cleaning up wreckage and debris after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

It has been 25 years since a disastrous explosion in Chernobyl nuclear power plant happened, yet its effects still continue to appear in the region, especially on the Black Sea coast of Turkey.

Twenty-five years after the incident, which happened on April 26, 1986, the exact number of people who lost their lives through the radiation they were exposed to is still unknown, yet the number of cancer incidents in the region is not at all to be underestimated.

“I have lost seven people in my family due to cancer,” said Meral Kara, who lives in Trabzon. “My husband, my mother and my two sons, who were very young, died of cancer. And now I wait; when is my turn?”

“It is true that there are many cases of cancer around here,” Yalçın Emiralioğlu, the mayor of Kemalpaşa, a small town in Artvin province with high rates of cancer, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. “I also have lost my relatives to cancer.”

No radiation in the tea

When the explosion took place at Chernobyl, then part of the former USSR and now part of Ukraine, Turkish government officials denied that radioactivity coming from Chernobyl would affect the natural habitat in Turkey.

Cahit Aral, then the minister of industry and trade, was one of the government members who said there was no radiation in Turkish agricultural products, especially black tea, which is grown in the Black Sea region. In order to prove his point, Aral drank tea in front of journalists and said: “Believe it like you believe in your religion, there is no radiation in the tea. It is harmless.” Minister of Environment Doğan Akyürek also seconded Aral, by rubbing tea on his face.

In 1987, the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority, or TAEK, also announced that the amount of radiation found in tea was harmless.

Yet, according to Professor İnci Gökmen from Middle East Technical University’s Department of Chemistry, a considerable amount of radiation was detected in the teas produced in the Black Sea region. The teas were not pulled from the market.

“We analyzed the teas and detected 10,000 Becquerel rays per kilogram. That is a very high number,” Gökmen told the Daily News. “Still those teas were not pulled from the market. Those teas exposed thousands of people to high radiation.”

Death tolls

Although the Turkish Health Ministry has not confirmed that Chernobyl has increased cancer cases in Turkey, according to a 2006 report by Turkish Chamber of Physicians, 47.9 percent of deaths in the Black Sea region are caused by cancer.

“I worked in a remote village in Rize between 1988 and 1990,” Dr. Kayahan Pala, director of the report, told the Daily News. “I can say that we saw a rise in abnormal births those years. We saw babies born without arms and legs. I can also say that there was a major rise in cancer cases too.”

Still, Pala said it was not possible to prove a direct link between Chernobyl and Turkey since many Turkish hospitals did not have past death records.

“I do believe that there is a direct effect, but we don’t have any means to prove it. We know that even in Norway and other Scandinavian countries, people were affected by this disease, and Turkey definitely got affected too,” Pala said.

But many government officials do not agree. Last year, Parliament’s Cancer Research Committee also prepared a report, which concluded that cancer cases in the Black Sea region had not increased at all.

“We worked with officials from TAEK, the Ministry of Health and NGOs,” Kemalettin Aydın, Parliament deputy and head of the Cancer Research Committee, told the Daily News. “If you compare the region to other parts of Turkey, you will see that there is no increase.”

Civil initiatives

While the government reports do not acknowledge a cancer risk, there are civil initiatives in the Black Sea region which try to educate the public about the risks of cancer.

Lawyer Sibel Suiçmez is the head of the Cancer Patients Solidarity Platform in Trabzon.

“Whatever they say, almost every family here has a cancer patient, or has a baby with an anomaly,” Suiçmez told the Daily News. “Nobody here believes the government reports. It is as if they are joking with us. I really don’t understand why the government is so insistent on hiding this fact. But people know what they are experiencing.”

As a lawyer, Suiçmez said she did not think it would be an option to start a court case against those who are responsible. “I think that is one reason why there are no reports on the increase of cancer cases. Turkish officials don’t want to be responsible.”

The case of Kazım Koyuncu

Although the Chernobyl disaster is said to have taken many lives, perhaps the most well-known case was the death of 34-year-old musician and folk singer Kazım Koyuncu, who died in 2005.

Koyuncu recorded his songs in a number of languages spoken along the northeastern Black Sea coast of Turkey, including Lazuri (spoken by the Laz people), Georgian and Armenian. He was also a well-known leftist and activist on environmental and cultural issues and was against the construction of a nuclear reactor in Sinop.

Nuclear power plants in Turkey

Turkey currently does not produce nuclear power, but there are two agreements which are expected to start soon.

Turkey’s first power plant will be in Akkuyu, a town on the Mediterranean coast. The plant will be built, owned and operated by a Russian subsidiary of Rosatom, a state-owned nuclear company.

The other plant will be built in Sinop, a city on the northern coast of the Black Sea. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently announced that the construction for both plants would start very soon.

 

Source: here

marketa liked this message
2.       si++
3785 posts
 20 Mar 2011 Sun 11:01 am

Turkish experts split in atomic debate

Demonstrators take part in a protest against nuclear plants.


Demonstrators take part in a protest against nuclear plants.

The unfolding disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant has divided Turkish experts, with some calling for a complete halt to plans to build nuclear plants in Turkey while others argue that nuclear energy is essential for the future.

“[Turkey] must halt its existing plans for the construction of nuclear energy,” Hasan Saygın, a nuclear engineer and vice-rector of Istanbul Aydın University, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Thursday.

The Turkish government must cease thinking about the profits that would flow from the plant’s construction, he said. “It is now a moral issue, [rather than just an economic concern].”

Saygın said he was concerned about how some Turkish politicians appear to be downplaying the risk that a natural disaster similar to the one that crippled the Fukushima plant could happen at a prospective Turkish reactor.

The third-generation technology to be used for the construction of the nuclear power plant in the Mediterranean province of Mersin’s Akkuyu town – for which Turkey has already signed a contract with Russia – has never been tested before, Saygın said, adding that a similar plant was being constructed in St. Petersburg. “[Another] similar plant was built in Armenia, and it is experiencing many problems.”

Touching on Turkey’s ongoing negotiations with Japan to construct a nuclear plant in the Black Sea province of Sinop, Saygın said he did not believe Japan would finalize the nuclear power plant negotiations with Turkey. “Will they tell us they don’t know [what would happen in the event of a natural disaster]?”

While the world has been gripped by Japan’s nuclear disaster, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defended the planned Akkuyu nuclear power plant in a visit to Moscow this week, saying the “step” to be taken in Akkuyu “will be an exemplary investment for the world.”

 

Source: here

3.       si++
3785 posts
 20 Mar 2011 Sun 11:04 am

Nuclear zeal melts down near Turkey´s Mersin

The country´s first nuclear power plant is planned to be built in this bay near the Mediterranean town of Akkuyu. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ


The country´s first nuclear power plant is planned to be built in this bay near the Mediterranean town of Akkuyu. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

A year ago it would have been hard to find anyone in the Mediterranean town of Akkuyu opposed to the idea of building a nuclear power plant nearby and the new jobs and higher living standards it promised. But fast-forward 12 months and the thought is as radioactive as the potential fallout from Japan’s nuclear crisis.

“I grow vegetables and fruits in this region,” 34-year-old farmer Nazmi Söylemez told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Thursday. “But nobody would want to buy eggplants seasoned with uranium.”

The reaction from residents this week contrasts markedly to the attitude prevalent before a March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that caused extensive damage to Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi reactor, bringing it to the point of meltdown.

“There are no young people left here. Everyone’s gone,” Suat Bulut, a waiter in a local restaurant, told the Daily News on May 14 last year. “[If the plant is built], we will earn money. In my village, everybody would say yes.”

Akkuyu was designated the site for Turkey’s first nuclear plant 30 years ago, but while authorities have long promised that the plant would turn Akkuyu into “a new Paris in five years” and “create new jobs,” even poor economic prospects cannot convince people to support the plant after witnessing the disaster at Fukushima.

“What if the same tragedy were to happen here?” is the most common refrain in the town.

The town of Akkuyu, where the nuclear plant is to be built by Russian State Atomic Corporation, or Rosatom, is situated 140 kilometers from the provincial center of Mersin. Permission to enter the area is granted only after long discussions and phone calls to officials in Ankara.

 

Source: here

4.       alameda
3499 posts
 21 Mar 2011 Mon 07:00 am

Well I certainly hope you can stop the importation of nuclear power plants in Turkey. The waste can not be disposed of, and as we can clearly see, they pose a serious hazard. There are other ways to produce energy, and we need to conserve energy as well.

There have been a lot of developments in Wind and solar energy lately. Look at Solar Ivy and some of the wonderful wind power systems. I love the work of Michael Jantzen. Look at some of the new wind turbines....more here....

We need to open our minds and look with clear eyes at the options. Why use nuclear energy to just make steam when there are cleaner options?



Edited (3/21/2011) by alameda [add]

5.       si++
3785 posts
 21 Mar 2011 Mon 09:54 am

 

Quoting alameda

Well I certainly hope you can stop the importation of nuclear power plants in Turkey. The waste can not be disposed of, and as we can clearly see, they pose a serious hazard. There are other ways to produce energy, and we need to conserve energy as well. And consume less!

There have been a lot of developments in Wind and solar energy lately. Look at Solar Ivy and some of the wonderful wind power systems. I love the work of Michael Jantzen. Look at some of the new wind turbines....more here....

We need to open our minds and look with clear eyes at the options. Why use nuclear energy to just make steam when there are cleaner options?

 

Our dictator-like PM has already set his mind.

Funny thing is that when he was talking about an issue raised by the opposition party, he said that "I,as a PM, cannot take the responsibility for this. We can make a referendum if necessary.".

 

But when it comes to this issue, he doesn´t consider such an option.

6.       si++
3785 posts
 21 Mar 2011 Mon 10:36 am

Neighbor warns Turkey to reconsider nuclear plans

Greek President Karolos Papoulias urged Turkey to reconsider plans to build atomic power stations after a March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

“It’s impossible at this time, when we have this disaster at the nuclear reactors in Japan that has shocked us all, that Turkey should want to build in an earthquake zone,” Papoulias said during a visit to a satellite station Friday, according to an e- mailed transcript of his comments from his office in Athens.

Countries including China and Germany put nuclear-power development on hold after the earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, 217 kilometers north of Tokyo, resulting in fires, explosions and radiation leaks.

Turkey wants to build two atomic-power plants, one near the town of Sinop on the Black Sea coast and the second at Akuyyu, 25 kilometers from a seismic fault line. Greece and Turkey are the two most seismically active nations in Europe.

 Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan should think this over “many times” and “the Europeans should intervene to prevent a disaster that would be in our own backyard, at our own doorstep,” Papoulias said.

 

Source: here

7.       si++
3785 posts
 21 Mar 2011 Mon 10:44 am

 

People seeking to show that they are very clever (a common flaw of those who debate this daily column) will often refer to power turbines not as units of energy generation, but as units of energy conversion. This illustrates they paid attention in high school, learning that energy cannot be created. It can only converted from one form to another.

This is relatively easy to grasp when one thinks of wind or hydroelectric power: the breeze or flowing water turns the turbine, converting kinetic energy to juice powering a PC. It gets slightly more complicated when we think about fossil fuels. What we are converting in this case is really solar energy, captured in organic matter a billion or so years ago and slowly converted by processes of geology to crude oil or the various forms of coal.

This gets more mind-bending when the topic becomes nuclear energy, powered by uranium. In this case, we are talking about the moment (or moments) when the earth was created about 4.5 billion years ago out of a piece of the sun. Not only did we get our planet and solar system out of this collision of supernova, we also got the residues we have today of the mineral uranium. Uranium, needless to say, is to nuclear power generation (or conversion) as a river is to hydro-electric power.

Which brings us to the point that in the cashing out process for all of our power needs, which are growing rapidly, we really have just one energy bank. It all comes from the sun; we just draw on different accounts that reflect different dates of deposit.

Turkey is unusual if not unique in that it is a country with access to virtually all slices of this sun-derived energy inheritance. Our solar power potential is the highest in Europe. Our wind energy potential, principally along the Aegean, is among the world’s top 10. Hydroelectricity now provides us about one third of our power, and in fact could provide all of it. We don’t have much oil or gas, which is why we are so import dependent, but companies exploring for fossil fuels are hopeful. We also tap less than 1 percent of identified geo-thermal potential. And while we don’t actually produce any uranium at the moment, we do have more than 9,000 tons under the ground around the provinces of Kırşehir, Nevşehir and Ankara.

 

Quoted from: here

8.       si++
3785 posts
 22 Mar 2011 Tue 09:41 am

MIT, Harvard experts divided on Turkish nuclear plans

As the Japanese nuclear disaster unfolds, academics and professionals share their thoughts about Turkish plans on nuclear energy, its advantages and health risks. While experts from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, say all appropriate safety measures will be implemented at Turkish plants, former Harvard physicist and anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Caldicott expresses serious concerns about leukaemia and nuclear energy
This photo shows the southern province of Mersin´s Akkuyu district which is soon to host a nuclear plant. DHA photo

This photo shows the southern province of Mersin´s Akkuyu district which is soon to host a nuclear plant. DHA photo

Turkey’s government has decided to proceed full-steam ahead on plans to develop nuclear power despite the ongoing crisis at Japan’s Fukushima reactor, but the decision has divided international nuclear experts.

 “As long as the Turkish Akkuyu plant is equipped with power sources that can withstand large forces of seismic movement and external fires, then emergency power sources can be used to circulate water and cool the plant,” Mujid Kazimi, professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

The first Turkish nuclear plant, which is to be located in Akkuyu in the southern province of Mersin, is to be built by Russia’s state-owned Rosatom company.

 

Nuclear power provokes ‘leukemia and sterility’

Some academics have voiced pessimism about nuclear plans in Turkey, stating that it could lead to a serious contamination of the eco-system while endangering hundreds of thousands of lives throughout the region.

“Nuclear waste travels through algae, fish and our nutrition system – it is extremely dangerous and already causes cancer and leukemia in many places,” said Caldicott.

“Turkish nuclear plans are a major risk and it’s simply a myth to promote the idea that safe nuclear plants can be built,” she told the Daily News.

Non-nuclear academics have worried about increased natural disasters, large lobby groups favoring nuclear power and the limited technological remedies to confine nuclear spillage.

“These materials remain for hundreds of years – any spillage or waste is bound to affect us for centuries, as can be seen with cancer today,” she said.

 

Source: here

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