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Turkey’s nuclear plans threaten Eastern Mediterranean ecosystems


Turkey’s nuclear plans threaten East Med ecosystems, ekathimerini.com,  Elias G. Hadjikoumis, 10 Dec 21,   
 Turkey has had plans to establish nuclear power plants since the 1970s, and these plans have become a key aspect of the country’s goal of economic development and growth. The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP) is the first. Turkey and Russia ratified the agreement to construct the plant in May 2010. The agreement indicated that Akkuyu NGS Elektrik Uretim Corp, a subsidiary of Rosatom, would construct, own and operate the plant. The nuclear power plant is to comprise four reactors. While the major construction activities began in March 2018, the first reactor unit is expected to be operational in 2023 and the remaining units in 2026. Once complete, the plant is seen covering 10% of the country’s total electricity supply. Turkey also intends to build two nuclear power plants on the Black Sea coast to meet energy demands. Although the plants would give the country clean [?] energy and make it energy-independent, there are numerous negative environmental effects associated with the generation of nuclear energy, and these pose a threat to Turkey’s neighboring countries as well as Turkey itself.

Nuclear is considered a clean source of energy because no carbon dioxide is emitted during operation, however, all activities related to building and running a plant lead to the production of high amounts of CO2, including the current construction and plant development processes at Akkuyu. Additionally, the plant will use uranium as its main source of fuel, whose extraction processes release great amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The power plant is located close to the Eastern Mediterranean, a region which comprises a vast set of coastal and marine ecosystems that deliver valuable benefits to all its coastal inhabitants. The region is set to experience negative environmental changes because of the huge amounts of water that will be required to cool the plant’s reactors. Pumping the seawater used to cool the four reactors back into the sea could lead to an 80% increase in water temperatures (2 to 5 degrees Celsius). The temperature rise would affect the area’s marine diversity. Environmentalists expect a decline in the number of fish because the high temperatures would probably kill most of them and reduce the egg-laying capacity of the rest. The high temperatures will also make the marine environment uninhabitable for a colony of Mediterranean monk seals and a very rare species of sea daffodil (Pancratium maritimum).

ANPP will affect countries around Turkey, especially Cyprus and Greece. Greece has already raised the alarm due to the lack of significant evaluation of the project and any protective measures for the environment and its neighbors. In fact, there were claims that the evaluation process for the plant was never concluded in Turkey. It is said that the government was influenced to hasten and conclude the evaluation process to favor its establishment in the specified site, which many consider unsafe because of the seismic activity in the area.

The European Parliament has called on the Turkish government to halt construction of the plant, citing the location of the construction site in a region prone to severe earthquakes. According to the European Parliament, the location of the site in a region prone to earthquakes poses a threat to Turkey and the entire Mediterranean region. The facility is situated 16 miles from the Ecemis fault line at the meeting point of the Eurasian and African tectonic plates. The fault was initially believed to be inactive when the nuclear plant’s site license was issued in 1976. However, scientific studies published in recent decades have shown that the fault is active. A nuclear engineering professor from an Istanbul university, one of the original nuclear engineers who signed the site license in 1976, indicates that the current construction is based on ignorant planning

and may pose a considerable threat to the Mediterranean region……………..

So far, no consultations have been held with neighboring countries. Commenting on the issue, a representative of the European Commission indicated that Turkey was not a party to international conventions, requiring countries to consult their neighbors over the environmental effects of major projects. The EU representative emphasized that Turkey is expected to align its legislation with EU requirements on such projects………

the greatest concern in the development of ANPP is radioactive waste in the East Medn region. Turkey has not yet signed the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management which came into effect in June 2001. Burying radioactive waste in the region would make it uninhabitable and in the event of an accident, the radioactive leak would be catastrophic to the environment. Local observers have already raised these issues. The observers argue that there has not been any clear explanation as to how Rosatom will dispose of the radioactive byproduct material generated by the nuclear plant. They fear that the site may even become a Russian nuclear dumpsite.

In conclusion, the nuclear project is a threat to Turkey and its neighbors. Its location in earthquake-prone areas and its anticipated negative environmental impact mean that the international community should put it on hold until a further assessment is carried out to determine its environmental viability. The project should be placed on hold because Turkey is not a signatory of international conventions and hence not obliged to consult with neighboring nations. The lack of consultations means that Turkey does not adequately account for the negative externalities arising from the plant on neighboring countries such as Greece and Cyprus.

Further assessment is needed to determine the effect of the plant on marine life and the potential negative effects owing to the vulnerability of Turkey and the Mediterranean region to earthquakes. The project was initiated and started even before a full commission and evaluation had been done and Turkey’s energy policies and prospects have a short overview, increasing the likelihood of an accident or lack of appropriate measures to contain any accidents in the region. The international community should take a strict position vis-a-vis the project, asking for close and consistent monitoring of all the nuclear development activities and future operations of the plant. https://www.ekathimerini.com/opinion/1173463/turkey-s-nuclear-plans-threaten-east-med-ecosystems/

December 11, 2021 Posted by | environment, Turkey | Leave a comment

Fire at Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant

 Last minute… Fire panic at Mersin Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant. It has
been reported that a fire broke out in the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant,
which is under construction in Mersin. Speaking about the fire, CHP’s Ali
Mahir Basarir said, “This nuclear power plant has been the scourge of
Mersin and Turkey.”

 Cumhuriyet 31st Oct 2021

https://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/turkiye/son-dakika-mersin-akkuyu-nukleer-santralinde-yangin-panigi-1880975

November 2, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Turkey | 1 Comment

Dire problems at Turkey’s Akkuyu nuclear Project

Yesil Gazette 27th Jan 2021, Problems around Akkuyu NPP are so dire that, even the supporters of nuclearenergy must object’ If Such accidents occur during the construction phase
of nuclear facilities that require maximum safety, it means that risks of
Akkuyu Project are  beyond general nuclear risks. When we see that facts are
hidden from public it is obvious that problems around Akkuyu NPP is so dire
that even the advocates of nuclear energy must object ‘says nukleersiz.org
Coordinator Pinar Demircan. The uncertainty about the explosion that broke
the windows of the houses and cars in the surrounding, which took place in
the evening of Tuesday, January 19 at the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP)
* – which is under construction in the Gulnar district of Mersin –
continues.

https://yesilgazete.org/problems-around-akkuyu-npp-is-so-dire-that-even-the-supporters-of-nuclear-energy-must-object/

January 28, 2021 Posted by | safety, Turkey | Leave a comment

Turkey’s aspirations to become a nuclear weapons power

January 4, 2021 Posted by | politics international, Turkey, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Environmental problems, and legal holdup for Russia’s $20 billion nuclear power project in Turkey

Turkey’s Russian nuclear power project hits legal hurdle, Ahval, Jun 21 2020 

Russia’s $20 billion nuclear power project located in Mersin on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast has long come under fire over safety and environmental concerns, including claims of large cracks in the concrete foundations due to loose and unstable ground in the area.

Officials broke ground on the Akkuyu power plant in 2018, which is set to be Turkey’s first nuclear power station and is due to come online in 2023 – the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey.

But engineers and workers began ringing alarm bells over a potential nuclear disaster soon after its inception, and a group of NGOs filed a lawsuit with a Turkish court demanding for construction to be halted…….

A Turkish court in the southern province of Mersin ruled on Friday to accept a request by the NGOs for relevant ministries and the National Security Council (MGK) to be able to intervene in the project, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

The court said the case would be reported to the MGK, which has no obligation to intervene in construction, but may now choose to do so. Lawyers involved in the case hd also said that the Russian power power plant could pose a national security threat to Turkey.

The court also gave the green light to a request by the NGOs for the involvement of a number of Turkish ministries in the case, including the Health Ministry, the Treasury and Finance Ministry, as well as the Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry.

How this latest development will play out in the ambitious Russian-Turkish joint-venture remains to be seen. But it arrives at a time of ongoing tensions between Ankara and Moscow over Idlib province in northwest Syria, where the two countries back opposing sides……https://ahvalnews.com/nuclear-energy/turkeys-russian-nuclear-power-project-hits-legal-hurdle

June 21, 2020 Posted by | legal, safety, Turkey | Leave a comment

British small nuclear reactors to help Turkey to get nuclear weapons?

Fears over nuclear Turkey after Rolls Royce reactor deal, Morning Star, 

 MARCH 25, 2020   ENGINEERING firm Rolls-Royce has struck a deal with Turkey for the production of nuclear mini-reactors, sparking fears that the British company and its international consortium partners are helping pave the way for Ankara to develop a nuclear bomb…..

It is part of a consortium including BAM Nuttall, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, Atkins and others. They will work together on designing the new power plant. ….

the plans have raised fears that Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could use the development as a step towards the country becoming a nuclear-armed power.

As previously reported in the Morning Star, Turkey’s secret nuclear programme includes plans to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), including nuclear missiles.

The plans have been given the green light by Mr Erdogan’s religious adviser Hayreddin Karaman, who provided not only his blessing for the government to acquire WMDs but also encouraged its leadership to do so.

Writing in a pro-government newspaper in 2017, Mr Karaman said: “We need to consider producing these weapons, rather than purchasing them, without losing any time and with no regard to words of hindrance from the West.”

There are already some 70 US-owned nuclear warheads said to be based at Incirlik airbase near the southern of Adana.

About 40 of these are thought to be under Turkish control, though details are patchy due to a lack of openness and transparency.

In previous deals with Russia and a Japanese-French consortium, the door was left open for the development of nuclear weapons after Turkey rejected offers to include the provision of uranium and the return of the spent fuel rods used in the reactors.

Ankara would be able to use its own low-enriched uranium and reprocess the fuel rods, producing its own enriched uranium for the development of nuclear weapons.

The development has parallels with the Indian missile capability developed after the testing of plutonium produced in the Canadian-supplied Cirus reactor, which first raised the issue that nuclear technology supplied for peaceful purposes could be diverted to weapons production. https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/fears-over-nuclear-turkey-after-rolls-royce-reactor-deal

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, Turkey, UK | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear company Rosatom in financial trouble trying to fund nuclear project in Turkey

December 2, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment

Turkey to go into big debt to Russia for $20 billion Akkuyu nuclear power plan

Turkey gives Rosatom go ahead to build nuclear plant, Reuters, 15 June 17,  

Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) won approval from Turkey’s energy watchdog on Thursday to go ahead with building its $20 billion Akkuyu nuclear power plant in southern Turkey.

The project to construct four nuclear reactors has repeatedly run into delays, including being briefly halted after Turkey downed a Russian jet near the Syrian border in November 2015. Ties have since normalised between the two countries and work on the plant has resumed……

Rosatom has sold several nuclear reactors to developing countries under a model by which Russia finances, builds and operates the nuclear plant and sells power to its customer – a model that has also raised questions about Russia using energy policy as a means to political ends.

EPDK said it had given Rosatom’s project company Akkuyu Nukleer AS a 49-year production license.

Dependant on imports for almost all of its energy, Turkey has embarked on an ambitious nuclear programme, commissioning Rosatom in 2013 to build the four 1,200 megawatt (MW) reactors…..https://www.reuters.com/article/turkey-energy-nuclear-idUSL8N1JC3FL

June 16, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment

Japanese govt influencing nuclear safety research? Questionably low estimate of earthquake risks in Turkey

nuke-earthquakeQuake risk for Japanese-French nuclear plant in Turkey lowered to keep costs down, sources say, Japan Times, 8 Jan 17,  Government-commissioned research firms have come up with a questionably low estimate for how badly an earthquake could rattle a nuclear power plant being built in Turkey by a Japanese-French venture, sources say.

The estimated “peak ground acceleration” — the term for ground motion caused by a quake — for the plant in the Black Sea province of Sinop is significantly lower than estimates given for quake-prone Japan’s nuclear power plants, and that means it could be an attempt to reduce construction costs, the sources said Saturday.

Turkey is often struck by earthquakes.

The peak ground acceleration for the Sinop plant was estimated at around 400 gal (or 400 cm per second squared), but some experts said it should be “at least 500 gal, based on Japanese standards” and the topography and geography around Sinop.

For instance, the assumed ground acceleration is 620 gal for Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant and 856 gal for Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi plant.

 The assessment was part of a study commissioned by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, which is overseen by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The aim of the study was to examine potential nuclear power plant construction deals involving Japanese companies in Turkey and Vietnam……..

According to Japanese researchers, active faults are suspected to be present around the site of the envisioned plant. In 1968, a magnitude-6 temblor struck west of the site, and Turkish researchers have warned of the possibility of a major quake occurring in the region again. Residents are protesting the project. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/01/08/business/quake-risk-japanese-french-nuclear-plant-turkey-underestimated-keep-costs-sources-say/#.WHMQs9J97Gg

January 9, 2017 Posted by | Japan, safety, Turkey | Leave a comment

Report: U.S. Transfers Nukes From Turkish Airbase to Romania

 http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/1.737585, 18 Aug 16 
The reported move comes after a U.S.-based think tank said the stockpile, consisting of 50 nuclear bombs, is at risk of being captured by ‘terrorists or other hostile forces.’ The U.S. has started transferring American nuclear weapons stationed at an airbase in southeastern Turkey to Romania, the independent Euractiv website reported on Thursday.
The reported move comes after a U.S.-based think tank said on Monday that the stockpile at Incirlik airbase, which consists of some 50 nuclear bombs, was at risk of being captured by “terrorists or other hostile forces.”
“It’s not easy to move 20 plus nukes,” a source told Euractiv, adding that the transfer to the Romanian base of Deveselu has posed technical and political challenges.
The report noted that the move has especially enraged Russia.
B61 16
The Romanian Foreign Ministry strongly denied that any U.S. nuclear weapons were transferred to Romania.
While critics have long been alarmed about the nuclear stockpile at Incirlik airbase, the aftermath of the failed military coup in Turkey on July 15 has sparked renewed fear.
“Whether the U.S. could have maintained control of the weapons in the event of a protracted civil conflict in Turkey is an unanswerable question,” said the Stimson Center report.
Incirlik, located just 110 kilometers (70 miles) from the border with Syria, is a major NATO base and a crucial launching pad for the U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS.
Incirlik hosts aircraft from the United States, Germany, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar involved in the U.S.-led air campaign against ISIS.
In an interview in July, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had appeared to suggest Ankara could open up Incirlik to Russia, a move that could raise concern among Turkey’s NATO partners already using the base.

August 19, 2016 Posted by | Turkey, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Are America’s 50 B61 nuclear bombs really safe in Turkey?

warheads nuclearHow 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.

Ensuring stability

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

August 6, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Turkey, weapons and war | 1 Comment

B61 thermonuclear warheads in Turkey – a worry in the light of coup attempt

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.

warheads nuclear

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

July 25, 2016 Posted by | safety, Turkey, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Turkey warns Russia it may not get its nuclear technology from Russia

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)

October 9, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment

Turkey’s nuclear plans face an uncertain future

“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.

flag-TurkeyTurkey 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

December 31, 2014 Posted by | politics, Turkey | Leave a comment

Delays loom for Turkey’s nuclear power project

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

October 10, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, Turkey | Leave a comment