The mayor of Turkey’s Black Sea city of Sinop has claimed that the government chose Sinop as a location for a nuclear power plant due to its low population density, aiming to minimize loss of life in the event of a nuclear accident, the Sözcü daily reported on Tuesday.
“Turkey’s general population density is 90 people per square kilometer, while Sinop’s is 30. They chose our city simply because fewer people would die in the event of a nuclear accident,” Mayor Baki Ergül said in an interview with the daily.
Construction of the plant is about to start on Cape İnceburun amid the concerns of residents and negative environmental reports.
More than 350,000 trees in Sinop were cut down in the last two years before the required issuance of an Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED) report, a move that sparked adverse reactions from locals.
The construction, which was awarded in a tender to Japanese and French companies, will be completed in 2023 according to plans.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in July 2017 he discussed the details of the construction with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and that it would be ready in 2023.
He also said Turkey was prepared to build a third nuclear power plant in addition to Sinop and the Akkuyu project in Mersin being constructed by Russian companies.
“Japan is going to referendum to decide whether to close down their 46 nuclear plants. We want a referendum before the start of a construction that will destroy our natural and touristic city,” Ergül said.
“Sixty percent of Sinop is green, while Turkey’s average is only 29 percent. If we have to build a nuclear power plant, at least we shouldn’t destroy our best places. The Black Sea region already has one person with cancer in every family due to the Chernobyl disaster. We don’t want any more,” he added.
The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine is believed to have emitted a dangerous amount of radiation to a wide area including northern Turkey’s Black Sea region.