Cyprus: bi-communal action against nuclear energy

We publish the public statement of the Cyprus Anti-nuclear platform, which New Internationalist Left supports



26 April 2023, 3-7 pm – Ledra Palace – Home for Cooperation 

PRESS CONFERENCE, Home for Cooperation, Monday 24 April 2023

26 April is the 37th Anniversary of Chernobyl tragedy. 26 April 2023 is the day before celebrations are organised in Akkuyu for the establishment of a nuclear plant, in an area where earthquakes happen from time to time. We do not forget the thousands of victims of the 7,8 degrees in Richter scale earthquake of 6 February 2023 which destroyed cities and villages in Turkey and Syria and the life of people.

Akkuyu, the nuclear power plant in Turkey, is just a few kilometres from the Kyrenia coast and is a matter that must concern us all. Nuclear power plants represent a very important issue as not only are they a threat to the environment but primarily can affect the health and safety of the people of the surrounding areas. A possible leakage could pose a huge risk to both workers and residents. Furthermore, indirect risks are also very significant and dangerous. Pollution of the environment (air, soil, subsoil, water) in the unfortunate case of an accident, would affect not only the area itself, since radioactivity can travel at long distance and affect large geographic areas. The risk is even higher due to the fact that the area is highly seismogenic.

25 years after Chernobyl, humanity has witnessed Japan’s tragedy, which is still suffering from the consequences of the terrible earthquake that took place in Fukushima on Friday, 11 March 2011, the tsunami it caused and the resulting havoc.

Humanity is rapidly becoming conscious of the much advertised ‘safety’ of nuclear plants and it is now highly questioning it. So, it becomes more imperative for a new mobilization of European and world public opinion for zero nuclear weapons and nuclear plants.

Unfortunately, even after the above-mentioned dramatic events, Turkey has built, with the support of Rosatom, a Russian state company, a nuclear power plant near Akkuyu. This development is a threat to the coast of Turkey, Cyprus and the wider region. At the same time, we note that similar plant is currently under construction, in Egypt while the construction of a similar plant in Jordan (all of them by Rosatom) is postponed due to its high cost.

Radioactivity from the “normal” operation of the plant as well as any serious leakage because of an accident, will gradually destroy the quality of life of nearby living beings, including humans. The eastern Mediterranean basin is a huge and interconnected ecosystem. In the instance of a radioactivity leakage, this will harm hundreds of kilometres around the nuclear plants.

Even today, 37 years after the Chernobyl tragedy, severe problems to people and the environment all around the Black Sea basin are recorded; thousands are dead, thousands of still-born cases with various diseases due to radioactivity released to the atmosphere, should be considered as prohibitive of the repetition of the same error. The on-going impact of the nuclear accident in Fukushima could also refer to many parts of the world and Akkuyu in particular.

Even during the “normal” operation of a nuclear plant, radioactive wastes impose a high risk which may last for centuries; to this end no one can claim that there is a safe way for their dispose. The cost of the disposal of nuclear wastes is very high and this puts in dispute the argument that nuclear power is a cheap source of energy. It seems that the environmental cost is not calculated. We honestly wonder: is there anybody that wishes to keep nuclear waste for tens of thousands of years buried on their land?

Nuclear power is neither renewable nor clean. Undoubtedly the problems it can cause far outweigh the advantages. Renewable sources of energy can be safely utilized by mankind today, especially in the Mediterranean region, that the use of nuclear energy can be characterized as unnecessary.

Our vision for good quality of life and environmental protection is incompatible with the existence and use of nuclear energy.

We call on all Cypriots to join us on 26 April 2023 on the date of the 37th Anniversary of the Chernobyl tragedy in front of the Home for Cooperation (H4C), opposite Ledra Palace, as follows:

15:00 Opening of “No more Hibakusha!” exhibition 

15:00-15:30 Exhibition presentation by Pinar Demircan

15:30-16:00 presentation of “latest developments at Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant and others” by Pınar Demircan (coordinator of and an independent researcher)

16:30-16:40 Q&A

16:40-17:00 The risk from atmospheric dispersion of radionuclides after nuclear power plant accidents – Theodoros Christoudias

17:30 Human chain in the commemoration of the victims of Chernobyl and Hibakusha

Don’t forget, nuclear power is dangerous; as we have experienced it yesterday at Chernobyl, today at Fukushima and tomorrow it may be Akkuyu! The Nuclear Energy Plant which is planned for Akkuyu is just 90km away from the Kyrenia coast!

Together let us raise our voices for the future of our children!

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