The Cyprus Green Party and the New Cyprus Party organised a common action against the use of nuclear energy and the scheduled establishment of a nuclear power plant on the south coast of Turkey, in Akkuyu (in Büyükeceli, Mersin Province), 40 nautical miles (74 km) from the north coast of Cyprus. The action took place on the 26th of April, marking 26 years since the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Earlier the same day, the Cyprus Green Party MP Mr George Perdikes tabled and opened the discussion during the House of Representatives' Plenary Session, on a Nuclear-Free Mediterranean Zone. All the political parties favoured the Cyprus Green Party's proposal and committed to promoting a nuclear-free zone for the region.
The two Cypriot parties, representing Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike, voiced their protest against the scheduled establishment of a 4800 MW reactor (4 units x 1,200 MW) in a seismicaly prone area, a mere hour's distance from the island's shores. Construction is scheduled to start in 2013 and it will be built, operated and financed by the Akkuyu Electricity Generation JSC, a subsidiary of the Russian state-owned nuclear company "Rosatom", which will retain 51% controlling stake of the project. The agreement also provides for Russia and Turkey to cooperate in other areas of the nuclear fuel cycle, including the treatment of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, decommissioning and the possible construction of a Turkish nuclear fuel fabrication plant.
It will be the first of 14 nuclear reactors that the Turkish Government is planning to construct all across the country. South Korea is also currently involved in the preparation of a bid to build the next four nuclear reactors at the Sinop site on the shores of the Black Sea.
The Cyprus Green Party has been conducting an ongoing campaign against the use of nuclear power, and the construction of the specific power plant in Akkuyu in particular, since 1998. Similar campaigns have been taking place in Turkey since the 90s as well, with signatures being submitted to the Turkish government at various points, asking for the scrapping of the plans to build a nuclear reactor in Akkuyu. Reactions against the construction of the particular plant are not only due to the high risks involved in any nuclear energy project, but also due to the high earthquake risk of the specific site. Studies have shown that Akkuyu is an area where large earthquakes have occurred, and could occur again in the near future. This directly endangers not only the local population but neighbouring countries as well, with Cyprus having the biggest proximity to the proposed site.
With the announcement that construction on the Akkuyu power plant is scheduled in early 2013, efforts have resumed to gather signatures to this end. The campaign was re-ignited on the 31st of March, with a symbolic protest demonstration held outside the Representation of the European Commission and the European Parliament in Nicosia, Cyprus. A protest resolution was submitted against the stance of the European Commission, expressing their disappointment and exasperation at the lukewarm stance of the European Commission towards Turkey's nuclear programme and in particular Ankara's plans to construct a nuclear power plant directly opposite Cyprus at Akkuyu.
The aim is to secure one million signatures so that the European Commission and European Parliament are obliged to pass legislation that will ban the construction of new nuclear power plants in earthquake-prone regions, and particularly in the volatile Mediterranean region. It should be noted that recent developments in the Mediterranean confirm that the region is characterized by political instability and dangerous upheavals, which make every nuclear installation an unacceptable risk.
The Turkish Greens of Yeşiller have also been actively campaigning against the Akkuyu plant, and have been involved in demonstrations and public campaigns against the project being developed in a seismically active area. You can see more information about their campaign at their website.