Officials fence off wasteland allegedly casting radioactive risk with barbed wire
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
This file photo shows a land claimed to signal radioactive danger, some media reports say. Radikal photoA location in İzmir’s Gaziemir has been fenced off with barbed wire for protection and containment after reports emerged that high levels of radioactive waste lay buried in the land, daily Cumhuriyet reported.
The barbed wire was put in place on Turkey’s Atomic Energy Commission’s (TAEK) instructions for security reasons, and to minimize the site’s negative effects on the surrounding environment, according to a statement made by The Environment and Urban Planning Ministry made to daily Cumhuriyet.
The site was brought to public attention when reports surfaced of the burying of radioactive waste under the ground, with over 10,000 tons of earth being placed on top of the waste. The radioactivity levels called for proper containment of the waste, however, and despite later reports by TAEK assuring of normal levels of radioactivity in the area, the controversy continued to generate public debate.
TAEK, operating under the Energy Ministry, is involved with the process around the site, but more of the work falls on the governor’s office in İzmir, the Energy Ministry’s press representative told Hürriyet Daily News. He added, however, that he was unaware of the barbed wire.
The work on the site continues under the coordination of the governor’s office, TAEK and The Environment and Urban Planning Ministry, he told the Daily News.
The governor’s office in İzmir declined to comment immediately, and instead told Daily News that the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry possessed information regarding the controversial site. Radioactive chemicals were reportedly first detected at the Aslan Avcı Lead Plant in the Aegean province of İzmir’s Gaziemir district in 2007, at which point the relevant institutions were notified.
The Environment and Urban Planning Ministry demanded data from the relevant institutions on the basis of a report that has surfaced in daily Radikal, according to a former report.
According to an official at TAEK, the agency discovered some substances containing radiation when they investigated the plant five years ago, prompting the Provincial Directorate of Environment and other institutions to order the buried waste to be removed and sent to the Çekmece Nuclear Research and Education Center in Istanbul.