Letter to USA Today (published September 2, 1999)


September 2, 1999

Letters to the Editor, p. A16

Turkey's chilling plan to have nuclear reactor

What would the loss of human life have been if there had been a nuclear accident during Turkey's devastating earthquake?

Ironically, the one person who could contribute to making this chilling scenario a reality was in Istanbul when the quake struck. U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson was in Turkey to advocate on behalf of an American consortium seeking to construct Turkey's first nuclear power plant just 13 miles from an active fault line ("Unstable region sits on many fault lines," News, Aug. 19).

Experts worldwide have warned of an enormous environmental risk being taken by Turkey if the plant is built. In a recent study, the consulting firm Earthquake Forecasts emphasized that a nuclear accident would be "horrific -- millions of people in Turkey and surrounding areas would be hit with disabling and lethal radiation." Thus, a U.S.-supplied nuclear power-pant in that region would amount to an environmental time bomb.

Concerns are also being raised about the likelihood of the use of this technology for a nuclear weapons program. The same technology that helped start the nuclear arms race on the Indian subcontinent is now being introduced to Turkey, an already highly militarized state. A nuclear Turkey will be the surest way to guarantee a comparable arms race in one of the world's most volatile regions.

Turkey's escalating military adventurism against virtually all of its neighbors should further underscore that placing nuclear power into the hands of governments that have not yet developed the political maturity to harness it can soon develop into the greatest global security threat of the coming century.

Phillip Spyropoulos, executive director
American Hellenic Media Project
New York, N.Y.

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