Today we count 31 years since the terrible accident in Chernobyl which marked a deep hole in the history of the 20th century. The accident let to the death of innocent people, the displacement of thousands of people (around 116,000 people) and according to the UN’s Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation to increased cases of thyroid cancers.

Today is not just a day of memory and distress. It is a day of awareness and responsibility. Having seen the disastrous results of the nuclear energy, I believe that our responsibility towards the humanity and the future generations is to deter the use of nuclear power. Unfortunately, we now know that even the tiniest possibility of an accident could be appalling.

What is important for us, Cypriots, is to realize the threat we are facing, having a nuclear station in our neighborhood and even worst in an earthquake prone area. A bilateral agreement between Turkey and Russia in 2010 provides the construction of a nuclear power station near Akkuyu, off the cost of Cyprus. Unfortunately, the construction is an ongoing project and the risks are high.

In case of a radiation leak, the damage will affect tens of kilometres around the nuclear plant. The Chernobyl accident is still creating problems to people living around the area of the accident and hundreds of people are still born with diseases and anomalies. Further to the mistakes done by the human factor, the fact that the Akkuyu area is a seismic one, adds to the fears of another Chernobyl nightmare. Turkey attained its licence for the nuclear power station to be established in 1975. The scientists who were part of the team that gave the licence for the location of the project, now oppose the evaluation they have made with the technology available 42 years ago. Analysing the location with the newly available technologies, they warn against the presence of different fault lines in the region.

The Mediterranean basin is an interconnected ecosystem. The water discharge that the Nuclear power station will obtain from the sea is expected to increase the sea temperature up to 33 degrees Celsius, something that will put in danger the sea organisms and the endemic species living in the sea. The Agreement (06.10.2010 Number:27721) signed between Turkey and Russia does not specify where and how the nuclear waste will be stored, does not designate responsibility in the case of an accident, and does not indicate how and by who the accident will be managed.

Nuclear waste is an environmental threat by itself and unfortunately it lasts for centuries. The cost of the disposal of nuclear waste is very high and this negates the theory that nuclear is a cheap source of energy. This cost or the cost of environmental impact are not being calculated.

Turkey’s role in the recent developments in our region, raises higher concerns and especially considering the terrorist attacks, taking place in Turkey’s territories. Terrorists do not have any boundaries when it comes to the damage they will cost in a possible attack and it seems that for them the more damage the best. The situation in the region is unstable and issues are not being resolved peacefully. Turkey has an important part of what is taking place and it is reasonable to be concerned for the stability in the Mediterranean region.

Having said the above, we all realize the risks. It is our responsibility to raise awareness, inform and mobilise. We are bound to make a joint struggle against the construction of the nuclear station in Akuyu and make all efforts possible to exclude every possibility of another Chernobyl nightmare.

Alexia Sakadaki
Member of the Central Committee
Cyprus Greens – Citizens’ Cooperation