How Safe Are US Nuclear Weapons in Turkey?, VOA, Sharon Behn 5 Aug 16, U.S. B61 nuclear bombs are equipped with “permissive action links” or PALs, which prevent arming and using the weapon without an authorization code. They are kept on special racks, inside secure underground vaults, inside protected aircraft shelters, inside a heavily guarded area, surrounded by two layers of fencing, lighting, cameras and intrusion detection devices, on protected airbases.
But this particular airbase, Incirlik, is in southern Turkey. The Turkish commander of the base recently was frog-marched off in handcuffs after being accused of involvement in last month’s failed coup against the government.
And that is the problem, says nonproliferation expert Jeffrey Lewis of theMiddlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterrey, California.
“I think in the near term they are very safe,” Lewis said of the bombs in an interview with VOA. “But there are no security measures that would be sufficient against a host state that is trying to seize them, so generally speaking, it is not a good idea to have nuclear weapons in a politically unstable country.”
Although the July 15 military-led coup failed to unseat the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the authoritarian leader retaliated with a massive purge of the country’s military, judiciary, media and educational institutions.
World leaders have reacted with unease.
And so have experts in nuclear weapons policy. “There are a lot of tough barriers, but incidents and accidents have a nasty way of happening,” said Hans Kristensen, director of the Federation of American Scientists‘ nuclear information project.
According to Amy Woolf, a specialist in nuclear weapons policy at theCongressional Research Service, the U.S. has around 200 B61 bombs located around Europe……..Up to 50 of those bombs are believed to be in Incirlik………
Kristensen said, given the political situation in Turkey and the fact that the base is less than 100 miles from the war zone in Syria, it might be time to consider moving the weapons.
“You only get so many warnings before something goes terribly wrong, and there are plenty of warnings in the region now,” Kristensen said. http://www.voanews.com/content/how-safe-are-the-us-nuclear-weapons-in-turkey/3451193.html
Coup attempt in Turkey raises a nuclear concern at US air base Incirlik Air Base was an operational centre of the attempted coup. It is also America’s largest foreign stockpile of nuclear weapons. South China Morning Post, 24 July, 2016 A little more than 100 miles from the territory held by Islamic State, there is a little piece of Americana. It has an eight-lane swimming pool, a baseball diamond and housing tracts built on carefully manicured cul-de-sacs.
The Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey has some other American assets: several dozen B61 thermonuclear warheads. The base has been a linchpin in Nato’s southern flank for more than half a century, the staging ground for US anti-terrorism missions and the fight against Islamic State.
But the failed military coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has increased long-standing concerns about the military usefulness and security of the Incirlik armoury, America’s largest foreign stockpile of nuclear weapons. Security remains at the highest level. Electrical power was restored Friday after a weeklong blackout that strained living conditions at the base. The 3,000 US service personnel stationed there have been ordered to remain inside the gates. Hundreds of dependents were sent home months ago because of fears of a terrorist attack.
The base was an operational centre of the attempted coup. Its commander and his subordinates were arrested on suspicion of trying to overthrow the Turkish government, leaving junior officers in control. The developments have shocked US military experts who say they demonstrate a worrying level of instability in Turkey’s military command close to the B61s.
Defence officials have never acknowledged the existence of these weapons on the base and refused at news briefings after the coup attempt to answer questions about them…….
The weapons are in underground vaults in a mile-long security zone at the base, protected by an Air Force guard unit with attack dogs. The nearly 12-foot-long weapons have devices that are supposed to prevent unauthorised detonation, but experts are divided on the effectiveness of those controls.
Unlike the strategic weapons that the US deploys in missile silos, submarines and intercontinental bombers, the B61s at Incirlik are tactical weapons that can be deployed at low altitude in the battlefield……..
“The weapons should be pulled back,” said Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists. “They have been in excess of what is needed in Europe for the past two decades. And now we have this new situation. This is the US nuclear base closest to a war zone. The country has a deeply fractured political and military system.” http://www.scmp.com/news/world/europe/article/1994052/coup-attempt-turkey-raises-nuclear-concern-us-air-base
Turkey’s Erdogan warns Russia on nuclear project, natural gas: papers http://news.yahoo.com/turkeys-erdogan-warns-russia-nuclear-project-natural-gas-090830083.html ISTANBUL (Reuters), 8 Oct 15 – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russia there were other places Turkey could get natural gas and other countries that could build its first nuclear plant, in the wake of Russian incursions into Turkish air space during its air campaign in Syria.
Russian aircraft twice entered Turkish air space at the weekend. Turkish F-16 jets have also been harassed by Syrian-based missile systems and unidentified planes since then.
“We can’t accept the current situation. Russia’s explanations on the air space violations are not convincing,” the Turkish daily Sabah and others quoted Erdogan as telling reporters as he flew to Japan for an official visit. He said he was resentful over what had happened but did not currently plan to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“These are matters for Russia to think about. If the Russians don’t build the Akkuyu (nuclear plant in southern Turkey) another will come and build it,” he said.
Turkey in 2013 commissioned Russia’s state-owned Rosatom to build four 1,200-megawatt reactors, but a start date for what is Turkey’s first nuclear power plant project has not yet been set.
“We are Russia’s number one natural gas consumer. Losing Turkey would be a serious loss for Russia. If necessary, Turkey can get its natural gas from many different places,” he said.
Around 28-30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkey’s 50 bcm annual natural gas needs are met by Russia.
(Additional reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
“Turkey does not need nuclear power plants. We have plenty of wind and sun in our country which can be used to generate plenty of energy,” says Tanay Sidki Uyar, head of the department of energy at the University of Istanbul.
Criticizing the lack of transparency in compiling the environmental assessment report, the energy expert highlights the lack of clarity and openness over the issue of nuclear waste disposal.
Turkey set to get nuclear reactors, DW 30 Dec 14 By mid-2015, Turkey wants to build its first nuclear power plant despite all objections and without regard for the fears of those affected by its construction. DW takes a look at the country’s energy policy. For the sixth time in four months, Devin Bahceci is visiting the site in Akkuyu in the Turkish province of Mersin. Standing in front of the barrier erected at the site, he shakes his head.
“To date, we do not know what to expect. The project is extremely non-transparent and it’s frustrating,” says the energy and climate activist from the environmental organization Greenpeace. Continue reading
Turkey’s first nuclear power plant likely to be delayed By Humeyra Pamuk and Orhan Coskun ANKARA | Tue Oct 8, (Reuters) – Turkey’s first nuclear power plant is likely to be delayed by at least a year, a source close to the plans said on Tuesday, as bureaucratic hurdles hamper the $20 billion project….. its first planned 4,800 megawatt (MW) plant, being built by Russia’s Rosatom, is already falling behind schedule, with the first reactor unlikely to be operational by 2019 as planned.
“Production in 2019 is not possible. 2020 is more likely,” one source close to the project told Reuters, noting that a nuclear reactor on this scale would need a test period of at least six to 12 months before it could be fully operational…..http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/08/us-turkey-nuclear-delay-idUSBRE9970D120131008
THOUSANDS IN TAIWAN RALLY AGAINST NUCLEAR POWER Yahoo 7 News, May 20, 2013, TAIPEI (AFP) – Thousands of Taiwanese marched through the capital Taipei on Sunday urging the government to halt construction of a nearly completed nuclear power plant, citing the Japanese atomic crisis.
The demonstrators chanted slogans like “No Nuke for Our Children” during the march which extended for miles as they evoked memories of the March 2011 Fukushima crisis sparked by an earthquake and tsunami. Continue reading
Turkey, Japan suspend nuclear plant talks amid safety concerns, 11 April 2011, Monday / TODAY’S ZAMAN , İSTANBUL Turkey, Japan suspend nuclear plant talks amid safety concerns
Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power plant, labeled by the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as one of the five most dangerous nuclear facilities in the world, is leaking high levels of radiation
TAEK: Armenia nuclear radiation leak poses no threat to TurkeyTAEK officials confirmed that a leak had occurred recently at Metsamor. TURKEY NEWS, WORLD NEWS ], 25 January 2011 The Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) dismissed allegations on Monday that a radiation leak from Armenia’s dangerous and controversial Metsamor nuclear power plant poses a danger to Turkey, Continue reading
Turkey sees political strings to France nuclear plant deal , Ahram Online, AFP , 24 Jan 2011, French companies have expressed interest in the project but relations between Paris and Ankara have been soured by strong French opposition to Turkey’s bid to join the European Union……….
Turkey is currently in talks with Japan to build a nuclear power plant at Sinop, on the country’s Black Sea coast.
Taner said earlier this month that French energy companies Areva, EDF and GDF Suez had submitted certain proposals for the project, but stressed that Japan had the priority.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a vocal opponent of Turkey’s EU accession, is reportedly planning to visit Turkey on February 25.Turkey sees political strings to France nuclear plant deal – International – World – Ahram Online
(Turkey) Anti-Nuclear Protestors on Trial, Bianet, 29 Oct 10, Anti-nuclear protestors stand trial because of their protest actions against the agreement with Russia on a nuclear power station. Diken from Greenpeace criticized, “We are tried because we made use of our freedom of expression”.Erhan ÜSTÜNDAĞerhan@bianet.orgAnkara -29 October 2010, Continue reading
Turkey Plans to Produce Nuclear Weapons. – The Orange Room – forum.tayyar.org 20 Jan 2010 OTTAWA, According to a piece published in the July 26 edition of theOttawa Citizen, the Turkish government has ordered the Turkish NuclearEnergy Commission to prepare a report detailing prospects of making Turkeya stronger nation due to its nuclear capabilities, by producing nuclearweapons……. Continue reading
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