Raining nuclear power plants on Turkey is part of Canada's scheme to bolster the state-owned nuclear industry, which is prevented from selling reactors inside Canada itself. The nuclear industry within Canada, as in the U.S., has been in the dumps, with Hydro Ontario, the nation's largest utility system, closing down eight of its 22 reactors over the last few years. Prime Minister Jean Chretien has joined with the nuclear industry to pump nukes abroad, citing specious grounds that nuclear power is cheaper and safer than other forms of electric production and provides a solution to global warming.

In a letter to a former Turkish prime minister, Chretien gave his personal endorsement to a bid by Atomic Energy of Canada to sell Turkey Canadian reactors, predicting a bright future for nuclear power. "Canada has used nuclear power for over 30 years, and we have found it to be a safe and economical way of producing electricity," he wrote in the letter, dated August 4, 1998, to Mesut Yilmaz, then Turkey's prime minister. "I am convinced that nuclear energy will have to be an important part of the energy mix as we all endeavor to deal with the global warming challenge."

The Canadian company hopes to sell Turkey two reactors for about $4 billion, with the federal government providing $1.5 billion in financing through the Export Development Corp. David Martin, of Canada's Nuclear Awareness Project, which opposes the sale, said the Canadian government spent $15 billion to subsidize the nuclear consortium over the last 40 years while Ontario Hydro's nuclear program nearly bankrupted the provincial utility company. He said the private sector will no longer finance nuclear power plants, hence the need for the EDC's financing for the proposed Turkey project.

The Sierra Club in Canada already has sued to block these reactor deals by challenging a previous Canadian arrangement with China, which the environmental group said was undertaken without any environmental planning.

The Turkish project won't be decided until year's end. An accident in southern Turkey could bathe the eastern end of the Mediterranean—Greece, Cyprus, and possibly Israel—in radioactive debris.

Forbes Friend Fights Islam Abroad
Onward Christian Soldiers

Time was when Republican candidate Steve Forbes gushed about free market capitalism. But for this year's presidential campaign the rich kid comes on as a social values convert and has surrounded himself with conservative Christians like Paul Weyrich, a founder of the New Right and leader of the Free Congress Foundation, a right-wing group in Washington. Weyrich once urged conservatives to stop sounding off and learn how to govern. More recently, he threw up his hands over the course of godless politics and started sounding more cranky than usual, urging followers to retire from wider society altogether, set up their own schools, and organize their own courts. Still, he's a key Forbes backer and recently nudged the Princeton grad onto a most uncertain path.

Writing with William S. Lind, a Free Congress colleague, Weyrich cheered on the Russian campaign in Chechnya. The two declared: "In fact, the Russian army in Chechnya is fighting for us, too, and for everyone who does not want to live under the oppression of Islam," adding, "a decisive Russian victory would be good news for Americans, at least for those Americans who still see themselves as part of Christendom." Forbes had no comment.

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