Turkey opens first particle accelerator
A scientist informs Prime Minister Erdoğan (L) about the proton accelerator. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
Turkey’s first particle accelerator facility which will serve the health sector and aims to diminish dependence on external markets opened yesterday near Ankara by the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK).
“This facility will serve as the hub of nuclear technology as we are preparing to generate nuclear energy,” Prime Ministyer Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during the facility’s opening ceremony.
Research on nuclear physics, electronics and even space studies will be carried out in the facility, according to Erdoğan. Turkey is committed to build two nuclear plants by 2023, in a move to lessen its dependence on carbon fuels and generate cheaper electricity, he said. “In 10 years, the consumption of electricity will be doubled. Unfortunately, parallel to the increase of our energy consumption, energy prices are rising. That’s why we prefer nuclear plants.”
The proton accelerator facility will mainly serve in producing equipment needed in nuclear medicine, such as magnetic resonance imaging and tomography, which Turkey spends $10 million annually to import. “Hereafter, we will be able to produce these equipments in our own facility,” Erdoğan said.
The accelerator technology is one of the significant generic technologies and has a leading role in scientific studies ranging from biology to hmetallurgy.
In further remarks, Erdoğan criticized the international community for singling out Iran on nuclear issues. “We raise this issue [to] almost all international platforms. We urge them to take the necessary safety measures. But those who have nuclear facilities, who see nuclear as a right to them, do not hesitate in criticizing Iran,” he said, recalling Armenia’s very old nuclear plant, located only from 16 kilometers from the Turkish border, which posed a danger to its immediate neighborhood.
According to Erdoğan, every country has the right to have nuclear energy facilities. “You have to be fair. You will overlook the insecure plants in Armenia, Israel’s nuclear activities but you will spark crisis over Iran. This is not fair.”