Anti-nuclear protestors detained in Turkey: Greenpeace

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

ANKARA (AFP) — Police detained 40 protestors Tuesday in a demonstration against government plans to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant, a day before the tender process was to open, activists said.

Several dozen members of environmental groups, among them Greenpeace, demonstrated outside the energy ministry in central Ankara, brandishing banners that read "No to nuclear."

Some of the protestors, dressed in black overalls and their faces painted white, lay on the ground posing as corpses.

Police officers detained about 40 people on the grounds that the demonstration was unauthorised, Greenpeace said.

Overriding strong opposition from environmentalists, the energy ministry has invited bids for the construction and operation of a 4,000-megawatt plant, to be built at Akkuyu, on Turkey's southern Mediterranean coast.

The first of the three stages in the tender process is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, with the successful bid expected to be announced later this year.

Although 13 foreign and local companies have shown interest in the project, it was not clear how many of them would eventually bid.

Among them are AECL of Canada, Vinci Construction of France, Itochu Corporation of Japan, Atomstroyexport of Russia and Germany's RWE.

An earlier plan for a reactor at Akkuyu was scrapped in July 2000 amid financial difficulties and protests from environmentalists in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus.

Opponents raised safety concerns, arguing that the proposed site is only 25 kilometres (15 miles) from a seismic fault line.

Ankara plans to build a total of three nuclear plants in a bid to prevent possible energy shortages and reduce dependence on foreign suppliers.

Under a law passed specially for the project, the state guarantees it will buy the plants' production for 15 years.

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