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Public Citizen Applauds Turkish Decision to Forgo Nuclear Reactor

July 25, 2000

Public Citizen Applauds Turkish Decision to Forgo Nuclear Reactor

Statement of Wenonah Hauter, Director,
Public Citizen?s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program

[For eight years, activists have fought the proposal by Turkey?s national state-owned electric utility, the Turkish Electricity Generation and Transmission Company, to build a nuclear power plant at Akkuyu Bay, on the southern Mediterranean coast of Turkey — a location at risk for a serious earthquake. Three international consortia were vying for the contract, including a partnership of American-owned Westinghouse and Japanese Mitsubishi. The decision on the winning bid was delayed numerous times. The Turkish prime minister announced this week, however, that the government would not go forward with the plant.]

Public Citizen applauds the decision by the Turkish government to forgo the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear reactor. Despite the efforts of the international nuclear lobby, the Turkish government has acted in the best interest of its people and all neighboring countries.

The nuclear experiment has failed here in the United States. Despite grand plans by the Nixon administration to have as many as 1,000 nuclear plants in the U.S. by 2000, no new nuclear reactor has been ordered since the 1970s. Cost overruns and public opposition have stifled their development. The last nuclear reactor to come on-line in the U.S. took more than 20 years to build and cost approximately $7 billion. Additionally, there is no long-term solution for isolating the dangers of nuclear waste from people and the environment.

Because the American market for nuclear reactors has withered, the nuclear multinational corporations are attempting to foist this outdated and dangerous technology on nations in the developing world. We are encouraged by the decision of the Turkish government and hope that other countries such as the Czech Republic will work to create a sustainable energy future, rather than build risky nuclear plants. Using a nuclear reaction to boil water for the purpose of running a turbine and creating electricity has always been inefficient and unsafe. The wise and far-thinking choices for meeting energy needs are energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.