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The BBC's Chris Morris
"Environmentalists are delighted by the government's decision"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 25 July, 2000, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Turkey scraps nuclear plan
Earthquake victim in Turkey
Opponents say earthquake zones lie perilously close
Turkey has abandoned plans to build its first nuclear power station.

The project has caused a storm of protest from campaigners and neighbouring countries who say the proposed site at Akkuyu is dangerously near a Mediterranean earthquake zone.

Announcing the move, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said the government could not afford the estimated $3bn-$4bn cost of the plant while it was committed to spending cuts.


The cancellation of the Akkuyu tender does not mean we have abandoned nuclear energy

Bulent Ecevit
"It is unnecessary for us, for the time being, to invest in nuclear energy," he told reporters after a cabinet meeting. "Our economic stability programme could seriously be hampered."

But he said Turkey - which is committed to an IMF-backed three-year anti-inflation programme - would reconsider building the plant in the next 10 to 20 years.

"Once the stability programme has reached its aims, nuclear plants will come back onto the agenda," he said.


A quake struck nearby as recently as 1998
In the meantime, he said, Turkey would seek to reduce energy waste, and invest in natural gas and hydroelectricity plants. It would also look into solar and wind power to meet its increasing energy demands.

Greenpeace welcomed the decision. One activist said Turkey had neither the time nor the money "to waste on a technology that is dangerous, polluting and outdated".

Concerns about the proposed plant were heightened by the fact that a powerful earthquake hit the nearby region of Adana in 1998.

Repeated delays

The Akkuyu reactor tender has already been subject to repeated delays - eight in all - since Turkey first announced plans to build it in 1996.

Anti-nuclear protest
Turkey has a vocal anti-nuclear lobby
Until now the government had insisted that the project was safe - as well as being vital to meet Turkey's growing energy needs.

But the Turkish Treasury refused to provide financing guarantees and on Monday the press reported that Mr Ecevit was considering scrapping the plan.

Three companies - one American, on Canadian and one European - have been involved in a long bidding process to win the contract.

One, Westinghouse of the United States, made clear last week that it would withdraw from the bidding if the decision was delayed again.

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02 Mar 00 | Europe
Turkey plans quake zone N-plant
22 Jan 00 | Europe
Turkish dam controversy
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