Turks protest against nuclear power after Fukushima accident

14:37, March 18, 2011      

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Dozens of engineers and students marched in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday to protest against Turkey's planned nuclear power plant construction as the nuclear crisis in quake-hit Japan continued.

Around 50 protestors gathered on the Eskisehir Road of the city at noon and paraded towards the nearby Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources building. They demanded the government to halt a plan to build the country's first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu on its southern Mediterranean coast.

Holding banners and hardboards painted with pictures of radiation victims and slogans like "Choose life, get rid of nuclear," the protestors chanted "Akkuyu can't become Chernobyl!"

Turkey signed a deal worth 20 billion U.S. dollars with Russia last May to build its first nuclear plant in Akkuyu. The licensing process of the plant has already begun. Turkey is also holding talks with Japan on a second nuclear plant in Sinop on the Black Sea coast.

"All kinds of technologies have risks, but once nuclear energy problems occur, the result is much more fatal and irrevocable," President Ramazan Pektas of the Chamber of Electrical Engineers, organizer of the protest, read out a statement to reporters during the protest.

His statement was disrupted by a man who approached and shouted: "You're opposing everything, but how can we generate electricity?"

A squabble erupted between the man and some protestors and the man was soon taken away by police.

The protest came amid global fears of massive nuclear leakages caused by last week's destructive earthquake and ensuing tsunami at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday Turkey will not call off its plans to build nuclear power plants despite the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan.

He said there was no investment without risk, noting that if people wanted a no-risk environment, they should "not build crude oil lines in their country and not use gas in their kitchens."

"The prime minister was careless in explaining the world's nuclear danger this way," said 26-year-old Goksel Ilgin, a member of a socialist student group named Libertarian Youth Society who joined Thursday's protest.

Turkey will ask Russia to increase its safety standards for the Akkuyu nuclear power plant during Erdogan's visit to Russia should it be necessary, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told local media Monday.

Source: Xinhua

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