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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-01-08

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Canada - Turkey - Nuclear reactors
  • [02] British Bases - Military exercise
  • [03] Atkinson - S300 - Cyprus
  • [04] Cyprus CARE - Help for Honduras
  • [05] Atkinson - Kasoulides - S300
  • [06] Cyprus Stock Exchange

  • 0800:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Canada - Turkey - Nuclear reactors

    by Menelaos Hadjicostis

    Toronto, Jan 8 (CNA) -- Claims by Canada's nuclear reactor maker that Turkey's proposed nuclear plant site is earthquake-free are cast into doubt by geological surveys which indicate that the site is seismically very active, a new report concludes.

    The report, prepared by renowned Canadian seismologist Dr. Karl Buckthought, also concludes that should a Canadian designed and built CANDU reactor be constructed by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) at the Akkuyu Bay site, on Turkey's southern coast, the probability of damage due to an earthquake is at least 50 per cent over the 40-year life of the reactor.

    "Turkey is one of the most earthquake prone regions in the world. Hence, the AECL proposal to sell two CANDU reactors to Turkey incurs the serious risk of a Chernobyl-type catastrophe affecting the lives of millions of people in Turkey, Cyprus, Greece and Israel," the report states.

    AECL has bid to build two 700 Megawatt CANDU reactors at Akkuyu Bay, located on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.

    Two other vendors have also bid to construct the 100 per cent financed nuclear power station, namely the French-German consortium Nuclear Power International (NPI) and the consortium composed of Westinghouse of the US and of Mitsubishi of Japan. It is believed that the AECL bid, reportedly at 2.6 billion US dollars, is the front-runner among the three vendors.

    The selection of a vendor has been delayed several times over the previous year and an announcement is expected at any time.

    However, it is possible that the selection could be delayed until after the Turkish national election this April.

    In his report, Dr. Buckthought, who is president of Earthquake Forecasts, Inc., refutes AECL's claims that the Akkuyu site is located in a relatively inactive seismic region.

    AECL spokesman Larry Shewchuk told CNA that geological and seismological investigations carried out over the past 20 years support AECL's own research, which indicates that there is no evidence of an active geological fault in the vicinity of the Akkuyu site and that the most active earthquake zones are located in eastern and western Turkey, 150 kilometres from the Akkuyu site.

    However, Dr. Buckthought's report notes that geological surveys conducted by five Turkish and British scientists along Turkey's south Mediterranean coast in 1988 and 1989, indicate that the Akkuyu Bay region is seismically highly active.

    "The Ecemis Fault, which is active, runs very close to Akkuyu Bay. The fault is a long one, long enough to have the potential for an eight Richter earthquake," the report says.

    The report also refers to the database of the US Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Centre, which reveals that within the last 26 years, nine quakes occurred within 60 kilometres of Akkuyu Bay, three within 15 kilometres, and one within five kilometres.

    "Although these were small events, they are significant in showing considerable activity for a 26-year period," the report notes. Shewchuk also said that the AECL's design bid is to build a CANDU that will withstand a magnitude 8.0 earthquake 60 kilometres from the site.

    "All CANDU plants, including those overseas, are built to Canadian standards and specification, which are among the most stringent in the world," he said.

    But in the report, Dr. Buckthought points out that there is evidence of major earthquakes in antiquity near the Akkuyu site which have not been taken into the AECL study and that "a recurrence of the most severe of these would result in a total disaster, greatly exceeding the design standard proposed by the AECL experts".

    Although Dr. Buckthought concedes that no major earthquakes have occurred near Akkuyu Bay in recent years, he does note the possibility that a "seismic gap" exists at the end of Ecemis Fault, which is closest to Akkuyu Bay.

    According to Dr. Buckthought, a "seismic gap" means that "stress at the boundary of two tectonic plates is gradually building up and will result in a major quake in time".

    On his part, Shewchuk said that the 6.3 magnitude earthquake which hit Adana, Turkey, in late June of last year and was about 180 kilometres away from the Akkuyu site, was "well within the magnitude of earthquakes used as a design basis" for the Akkuyu CANDU power plant.

    "Neither the structure nor the safety and safety-related systems of a CANDU plant would have been damaged had it been operating at Akkuyu at the time of the earthquake at Adana. The plant would continue to operate safely under these conditions with no risk to the public and the environment," he said.

    Dr. Buckthought notes, however, that there is "not enough experience available to ensure that any nuclear plant design will stand up to a major quake".

    He goes further to say that should the CANDU reactor's cooling system fail as a result of earthquake damage, the consequence would be "a cloud of maiming and lethal radioactivity" that would affect the people of Turkey and neighbouring countries, including Cyprus, Greece and Israel.

    CNA MH/GP/1999

    [02] British Bases - Military exercise

    Nicosia, Jan 8 (CNA) -- A British Bases military exercise in the Akamas peninsula, which had prompted strong opposition from both locals and environmentalists, took place in the early hours today.

    The British soldiers, the strong Cyprus police force that was in the area since last night as well as the protestors have already left the region, in the north-western coast.

    A Police spokesman told CNA that the British soldiers were transferred to the firing range around 0230 (0030 GMT) by helicopter and left about four hours later.

    Environmentalists and locals had blocked off roads leading to the Akamas peninsula, considered unique for its flora and fauna, while others had camped in the forest in a bid to stop the military exercise.

    "We had remained in the area all night and we controlled all roads, not allowing cars to go by. Not even one British soldier went by our road blocks," George Perdikis, of the Ecologist and Environmentalist Movement told CNA.

    The British exercise was initially scheduled to take place for two days, but both its duration and the number of soldiers participating were reduced because of strong opposition.

    In the past few years, the environmentalists stepped up their campaign so that Akamas is declared a national park and support that the British military exercises in the area damage the environment.

    Negotiations between the British and the Cyprus government are being carried out so that a suitable alternative location for the British military exercises could be found.

    Britain has retained two military bases on the island since it granted Cyprus independence from colonial rule in 1960. It also maintains the right to exercise in designated areas.

    CNA MA/GP/1999

    [03] Atkinson - S300 - Cyprus

    Nicosia, Jan 8 (CNA) -- David Atkinson, Chairman of the European Democratic Group at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, today welcomed Cyprus President's decision not to deploy the S300 defence missile system on the island, noting that the fact it was Russian-made was an extra concern.

    After a meeting with House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou, Atkinson expressed the hope that the Turkish troops - occupying 37 per cent of the island's territory since they invaded in 1974 - will also be withdrawn.

    He said he is in Cyprus for meetings with political leaders "to discuss the way forward for the hopeful reconciliation between the parties in Cyprus."

    "As far as I am concerned this is in preparation for the forthcoming debate in the Council of Europe," he added.

    Asked if President Glafcos Clerides' decision not to deploy the S300, announced before the end of last year, makes things easier, Atkinson said "we all welcome the decision not to deploy Russian missiles in Cyprus."

    "This has to be a confidence building measure and I shall be seeking clarification on this decision whilst I am here, but it's clearly a way forward and I welcome it," he added.

    Invited to clarify why he underlined the fact that the defence missile system was made in Russia, the Conservative MP said "the source of the missiles was not encouraging for us in the first place and the fact that it was intended to deploy them in Cyprus was again a negative aspect."

    With regard to the Turkish occupation troops, Atkinson said "we want to see the end of Turkish troops in the northern part of Cyprus as part of a policy of reconciliation of the whole country."

    CNA GG/MA/GP/1999

    [04] Cyprus CARE - Help for Honduras

    by Myria Antoniadou

    Nicosia, Jan 8 (CNA) -- "A Truck Full of Hope" collecting aid for the people of Honduras will be parked in Eleftheria Square, in central Nicosia, tomorrow in the second effort by the Cyprus "Central America Relief Effort (CARE)" to help them face the consequences of Hurricane Mitch.

    Speaking to CNA today, Carrie Hutton said she set up Cyprus CARE in November and within three weeks from asking for help they collected 16 thousand kilos of donations from Cypriot, foreigners and the British Bases on the island.

    "The response from Cypriots has been incredible. I'm very very proud. We've had people actually going out and buying brand new things to donate," Hutton said.

    She added that a lawyer, an advertising agency and a packaging and movers business gave their services to Cyprus CARE free of charge.

    "I don't believe we could have done this with such success in any other country in the world. I think Cyprus is unique in this kind of thing, " Hutton said.

    She said the aid collected was sent to Honduras at the beginning of December by ship and should be arriving any day now. The 2,500 dollars needed to ship the container was paid by a private donor who chose to remain anonymous.

    Hutton visited Honduras in November and was introduced to CARITAS organisation that is now responsible for clearing the containers through customs and distributing the donations in the villages that need them most. Rotary International has also volunteered to help.

    "We've got the two biggest international care organisations volunteering to help us so we've got the most phenomenal support over there as well," she said.

    Hutton, who was working as marketing manager with an off-shore company before being made redundant, has been living here for the past six years. She was in Honduras between 1990 -1992 and has lived in a number of other countries over the last eleven years.

    She said that on permission from the Nicosia Mayor, Cyprus CARE will be collecting building materials, dry food, medicines, seeds as well as blankets, cooking utensils and other useful items as the Honduras government is desperate that its people does not become dependant on aid.

    Hutton noted that there has been more rain and disaster and said that if tomorrow is a success she would like to take the truck to other towns to collect donations.

    She did not rule out the possibility of the organisation helping other countries in the future or even the enclaved Greek Cypriot children in the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus.

    CNA MA/GP/1999

    [05] Atkinson - Kasoulides - S300

    Nicosia, Jan 8 (CNA) -- David Atkinson, Chairman of the European Democratic Group at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, stressed here today that the fact the S300 defence missile system is Russian-made "undoubtedly" caused an additional problem.

    After a meeting with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Atkinson said he hopes President Clerides' decision not to deploy the missiles "will be regarded as a confidence building measure by the Turkish Cypriot community and they will respond accordingly".

    To a question whether an extra concern would have arisen if the missiles were US-made, Atkinson said "that is a detail now".

    He added that the non deployment of the S300 will help reduce tension between the two communities.

    President Clerides has decided not to deploy the S300 missiles in Cyprus and instead to negotiate with the Russian government their possible deployment in the Greek island of Crete.

    Referring to his meeting with the Cypriot Minister, Atkinson said they discussed a number of issues, which will be the subject of a debate on Cyprus, in the forthcoming session of the Council of Europe, in April.

    Earlier today, Atkinson called on House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou. He will also have separate meetings with local party leaders.

    CNA RM/GP/1999

    [06] Cyprus Stock Exchange

    Nicosia, Jan 8 (CNA) -- The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) All Share Index closed at today's stock exchange meeting as follows:
          CSE General Index                          90.92 (-0.29)
          Traded Value            CYP 1,592,000
          Sectural Indices
          Banks                   CYP   722,942     107.37 (-0.42)
          Approved Investment
          Companies               CYP    59,540      57.79 ( 0.42)
          Insurance Companies     CYP   289,755      65.42 ( 0.00)
          Manufacturing Companies CYP   141,307      85.85 ( 0.07)
          Tourism Companies       CYP    89,949      68.95 (-0.07)
          Trading Companies       CYP   114,630      40.17 ( 0.00)
          Other Companies         CYP    57,066      80.00 (-0.97)
    The third column presents the percentage variation of the indices as compared to the last meeting.
    CNA GP/1999
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