13 February 2014

Further Delay in Akkuyu Turkish Nuclear Power Project

On 7 February 2104 it was reported there will be a further delay of up to a year in the four decades old Akkuyu nuclear power plant project located in the province of Mersin on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. The delay is due to the failure by Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom to provide sufficient information in its environmental impact assessment report for Akkuyu. Under a joint Turkish/Russian intergovernmental agreement signed in 2010, it was agreed that Rosatom will build, own and operate four 1200 MW AES-2006 reactors. As WNISR detailed, construction was originally scheduled to begin in 2013 with operation from 2020.

Earlier submissions of the environmental impact report were also rejected by the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning on the grounds of deficient information. The CEO of the Akkuyu project has said that the revised report will be submitted by the end of February 2014, and approved by Turkish authorities by April 2014.

A further reason for delays has been the failure to find a company qualified to conduct a safety review of the 1200MW AES-2006 design with three tenders cancelledso far, the latest being in September 2013.

On 4 February 2014 citizens groups opposed to the Akkuyu nuclear project filed with the Mersin administrative court seeking the withdrawal of the site license. They argue that the original license, granted in 1975, has been updated by TAEK without adequately taking into account scientific data acquired during recent decades which shows the region is at risk of major seismic events.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is playing a central role in promoting the development of the Akkuyu project. An IAEA led Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission took place in November 2013, with the aim of reviewing Turkeys national infrastructure for the country’s new nuclear power programme. INIR missions are designed to help IAEA member States develop and assess the status of their national infrastructure for the introduction of nuclear power.