September 17, 1999

SECTION: Letters To The Editor; Pg. 20

HEADLINE: Environmental time bomb

Press reports on the devastating earthquake in Turkey, ignored the alarming fact that US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson was in Istanbul during the earthquake.

He was representing an American-led consortium seeking to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant just 20 kilometres from an active fault line.

Experts worldwide have warned of an enormous environmental risk being taken by Turkey if the plant is built.

A recent study by Earthquake Forecasts emphasised that reactors posed an "unacceptable level of risk" and that a nuclear accident would be "horrific - millions of people in Turkey and surrounding areas (would be) hit with disabling and lethal radiation".

While prominent Turkish scientist Tolga Yarman has warned that "Turkey is not ready for nuclear power", the US is pursuing its bid to place an environmental time bomb in the eastern Mediterranean.

The proposed reactors have raised yet another fear. In 1981, Israeli jets bombed Iraq's Osirak reactor to avert an Iraqi nuclear weapons programme. Now concerns are being raised about the likelihood of Turkey, already a highly militarised state, using the acquisition of this sensitive technology for a nuclear weapons programme.

A nuclear Turkey will guarantee an arms race in one of the world's most unstable regions.

Moreover, Turkey's escalating military adventurism against virtually all of its neighbours demonstrates that placing nuclear power into the hands of governments that have not yet developed the maturity to harness it will likely translate into the greatest global security threat of the coming century.

Executive Director
American Hellenic Media Project
New York, US

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