Japan has been hit with a calamity comparable only to that of the atomic bombs that befell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As we watched from our television screens and computer monitors in horror the tsunamis wiping out towns and villages, we were unaware of what would happen next. Within hours, word broke out that one of Japan’s nuclear sites had exploded, and within days, radiation reached lands as far as Italy and arguably the US.
These awful events have now opened up new discussions concerning the plans proposed for Turkey’s new nuclear power plant developments. The debate, sparked by a huge protest of Turkish citizens has become as powerful as the technology itself. The ruling AKP party is riding on the chance to develop such factories to harness “safer and cleaner” energy at an incredible rate, making it a monetarily prosperous country in the eastern Mediterranean. If plans are to go through, it would elevate Turkey financially, as it would be more self sufficient and technologically ahead of most of its neighbors. Thus, from a financial point of view, it’s a sound idea.
However, scientifically and historically understanding Anatolian land would drastically change a person’s decision. Turkey, which resides on the Western peninsula of the Asian continent, includes a tumultuous history of devastating earthquakes that have ravaged the land and decimated populations. One of the most well known earthquakes in recent memory occurred near Istanbul in 1999, killing over 17,000 people and causing drastic damage to homes, neighborhoods, and businesses. Scientists have even theorized that another earthquake of equal measure, or possibly worse, is inevitable by the year 2024.
Now the question of nuclear energy comes to mind. Why would a ruling political party, who can see today the repercussions of a nuclear power plant in an earthquake-riddled territory, indulge in such a venture? Aren’t there other forms of energy that would produce cleaner, safer, and equally profitable ways? Traveling throughout the Aegean coastline, one will see the dozens of windmill farms generating energy at a clean and rapid rate. One can also say that it is very fitting to the environment, as it is warm, clean, and peaceful.
Is the production of a nuclear power plant more important than the safety of its neighboring people? One should look at this from an even more global perspective. If such a calamity were to befall Turkey, it would undoubtedly have deadly radioactive effects on its neighbors including Greece, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria and Israel.
There is the argument however that several EU countries already house dozens of their own nuclear power plants. For instance, France has roughly 40 or so power plants alone. However, if anything were to go wrong on their clock, much of Europe would face a grim change in reality rather quickly. That may sound pessimistic, but humankind has been known to repeat manmade disasters from time to time, especially for the sake of power and money.
I never thought that I would have to write a blog on such a topic, as one of the reasons I decided to move to Anatolia was due to its natural farming and food production. The thought of introducing nuclear production in the region is unnerving to say the least. Many people in Turkey have opposed the plan to build nuclear plants in the region, in hopes to keep the energy production clean as in the windmill farms along the coastlines. I, as a new resident, have to agree with them.