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A lot of safety worries for Turkey’s Akkuyu nuclear plant

Turkey’s Akkuyu nuclear plant facing numerous safety concerns – Birgün,  https://ahvalnews.com/akkuyu/turkeys-akkuyu-nuclear-plant-facing-numerous-safety-concerns-birgun  21 July 19,Top-level officials working at Turkey’s Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant construction project say a series of problems, including lack of design adaptation and a shortage of competent engineers on site, are posing serious safety concerns, left-wing Birgün newspaper reported.Located in Turkey’s Mediterranean coastal town of Mersin, Turkey’s first nuclear power plant Akkuyu is a joint Russian-Turkish project with Russian energy company Rosatom as the majority stakeholder. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin kicked off the construction of the plant on Apr. 3 amid concerns about the potentially destructive ecological consequences of the plant.

The project hit a snag in May when fissures discovered in the foundations, according to pro-government outlet HaberTürk. New concrete was laid only for more cracks to be discovered.

The problem of the cracks, discovered by Turkey’s Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK), have since been fixed, however the foundation of the plant remains a problem.

The design of the plant was created with Russian landscape and weather in mind and is in need of revision to be adapted to Turkey’s warm climate, officials told Birgün.

“For example, sloping in the mountains should be conducted in a more horizontal fashion, but it has been done vertically to minimise costs and this is resulting the boulders continually rolling down the hills,’’ one official said.

The ground the plant is being built on, which according to a geology engineer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, is filled with gaps and cannot support the plant.

“Technically speaking, you can construct a structure over any kind of surface. However, the structure at hand is not a copy-paste matter, it must be revised according to the present surface. None of this is happening because the engineers of the project are not competent,’’ the engineer said, pointing to gaps that may lead to condensation, among other problems.

The project is run entirely on the ‘’past experiences’’ contractors, one official said.  ‘’They are acting as though a building is being constructed instead of a nuclear reactor. And even during the process of constructing a building, a much more serious plan of action is followed.’’

The cooling of the plant is to take place through the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

The warm water to be released into the sea after the cooling process, a chemical engineer who spoke to left-wing Birgün daily said, will lead to increased temperatures in the water, which in turn affects marine life.

’Chlorine is placed in the water to avoid mussels etc. from sticking to the pipes used to draw the water. And then this water, which now naturally has chlorine in it, is released into the sea,’’ the official said. ‘’Imagine the damage this can create in the sea, which is filled with living organisms.’’

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July 22, 2019 Posted by | safety, Turkey | Leave a comment

Arrests in Turkey for theft of nuclear weapons material

Nuclear weapon material worth $72mn seized in a car in Turkey https://www.rt.com/news/463556-turkey-radioactive-material-bust/ : 7 Jul, 2019  Turkish police have taken five people into custody over the smuggling of a highly-radioactive substance used to build nuclear weapons and power nuclear reactors. The 18.1-gram haul was found in a car.

Police discovered a vial of the material after they pulled over a car in the northwestern Bolu province. The substance, believed to be californium, was found stashed under the gear stick wrapped in a bag. Officers had to cut the upholstery to get to the parcel, which is estimated to be worth US$72 million.

Five suspects were detained in the raid, and the mixture was taken to the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) for a detailed analysis.

Californium is named after the place where it was synthesized back in 1950 – a laboratory at the University of California. Apart from being used to manufacture nukes and nuclear-powered reactors, the element also has a range of rather innocuous civilian applications. It can be used as part of metal detectors and is used in cancer treatment as well as oil, silver, and gold mining operations. Still, the substance is highly dangerous and its production, distribution, and transportation is restricted. Currently, only the US and Russia synthesize the isotope.

It is not the first time Turkish police have reported a major bust involving californium.

In a scare in March of last year, police in Ankara said they had seized a whopping 1.4kg of the same substance in a car following a tip-off. It turned out to be false alarm, as the haul was later found to have no trace of nuclear or radioactive material, and was, in fact, organic matter.

July 8, 2019 Posted by | incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Turkey | Leave a comment

Turkey’s President Erdoğan admits that Sinop nuclear power plant has been halted (too costly)

Anti-Nuclear Platform: ‘We Won’t Get Carried Away Until Project is Officially Canceled’

President Erdoğan admitted for the first time that the construction of the nuclear power plant in Sinop has been halted. Bianet, Hicran Cengiz, İstanbul – BIA News Desk28 June 2019, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday (June 27) the nuclear power plant project in the Black Sea province of Sinop has been halted, in an interview with a newspaper from Japan.

June 29, 2019 Posted by | politics, Turkey | Leave a comment

Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear plant seen as a risk by Turkey

Turkey holds drill over risk stemming from Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear plant, DAILY SABAH, ISTANBUL, 20.06.2019
  Fearing impact from a possible accident from an aged nuclear power plant in neighboring Armenia, residents of a border village held a drill on Wednesday coordinated by the local governorate.

As part of the drill, medical rescue teams and gendarme troops evacuated residents of Orta Alican, one of eight villages of the eastern province of Iğdır, which are located in close proximity of Metsamor. It is the first comprehensive drill of its kind in the region against the danger the plant poses.

“Survivors” of the nuclear accident were taken to a tent camp set up in central Iğdır by crews and they were “decontaminated.” Iğdır Gov. Enver Ünlü said it was their responsibility to conduct such a drill against “a disaster that might happen.”

He said Metsamor was assessed as one of the world’s most dangerous nuclear plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and according to data by European Union…….

Following an earthquake in 1988, Metsamor was closed. However, in spite of widespread international protests, it was reactivated in 1995. Armenia earlier rejected the EU’s call to shut down Metsamor in exchange for 200 million euros to help meet the country’s energy needs.

Turkey, which has not had diplomatic relations with Armenia since the 1990s over the occupation of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno Karabakh, has urged Armenia to shut down the plant due to the imminent danger the outdated plant posed to Turkey……https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/2019/06/20/turkey-holds-drill-over-risk-stemming-from-armenias-metsamor-nuclear-plant

June 22, 2019 Posted by | safety, Turkey | Leave a comment

Turkish nuclear power project looks like being shelved

April 25, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Turkey | Leave a comment

Japan to scrap Turkey nuclear project

Post-Fukushima safety measures doubled costs for Mitsubishi and partners Nikkei Asain Review 

DECEMBER 04, 2018 TOKYO — A Japan-led public-private consortium is set to abandon a Turkish nuclear power project that had been touted as a model for Tokyo’s export of infrastructure, Nikkei has learned.The delayed project’s construction costs have ballooned to around 5 trillion yen ($44 billion), nearly double the original estimate, making it difficult for lead builder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and its partners to continue with the plans.

The increase was due to heightened safety requirements in the wake of the 2011 meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The recent fall in the Turkish lira has also contributed to the cost increases.

The decision to cancel the project, now in final negotiations among the parties, comes as a blow to Japan’s nuclear industry, which is looking for avenues for growth overseas as it becomes increasingly unlikely that a new plant will be built at home post-Fukushima.

The Japanese and Turkish governments agreed in 2013 on the project, with an alliance of Japanese and French businesses centered on Mitsubishi Heavy to build four reactors in the city of Sinop on the Black Sea. Initial plans had construction beginning in 2017, with the first reactor coming online in 2023………

In 2017, global investment toward building new nuclear projects plunged roughly 70% year on year to $9 billion, according to the International Energy Agency. With safety costs rising, nuclear has grown less competitive with other forms of energy.

A number of aging Japanese reactors are set to be decommissioned soon, with Kansai Electric Power planning to scrap the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at its Oi plant in Fukui prefecture, and Tohoku Electric Power the No. 1 unit at a plant in Miyagi Prefecture’s Onagawa. Meanwhile, new nuclear projects have hit a standstill in the face of deep public wariness. https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/Japan-to-scrap-Turkey-nuclear-project

December 4, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, Turkey | Leave a comment

Turkish environmentalists go to the Supreme Court to stop construction of nuclear power station

November 19, 2018 Posted by | Legal, opposition to nuclear, Turkey | Leave a comment

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reveal evidence of Khashoggi murder “in all its nakedness.” 

World Awaits ‘Naked’ Truth on Saudi Killing https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-22/world-awaits-naked-truth-on-saudi-killing, By Glen Carey, October 22, 2018If Saudi leaders expected a reprieve from their account of how journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi was killed in their Istanbul consulate, they’re likely to be sorely disappointed.

While President Donald Trump, a steadfast Saudi ally, defended de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he said the explanation had been marked by “deception and lies.’’ Bipartisan members of the U.S. Congress said it lacked credibility. France demanded more information, while Germany suspended arms sales.

Even Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir called Riyadh’s attempt to cover up the murder “a tremendous mistake,” though he stuck to the government’s line that Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, died after “discussions” turned violent.

Western leaders are balancing concerns about his death with their strategic interests. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. will continue its relationship with the world’s largest oil supplier, a major weapons buyer, while trying to “get to the bottom of what the facts are.”

Now the focus shifts to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who’s promised to reveal tomorrow what happened to Khashoggi “in all its nakedness.” If he provides credible evidence that differs from the kingdom’s description, pressure to hold Saudi Arabia’s senior leadership accountable will intensify.

October 23, 2018 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Turkey | Leave a comment

Council of Europe concerned at construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in an earthquake-prone region

Council of Europe requests Turkey to consult neighbours for Akkuyu nuclear plant https://ahvalnews.com/council-europe/council-europe-requests-turkey-consult-neighbours-akkuyu-nuclear-plant

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) expressed on Thursday deep concern at the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in an earthquake-prone region of Turkey only 85 kilometres from the border with Cyprus.

In a resolution it adopted, the assembly said that Turkey’s first nuclear plant being constructed as a joint Turkish-Russian project is in very close proximity to the other neighbouring countries.

The assembly asked Turkey to join the UN Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, also known as the Espoo Convention, and to take into account all concerns expressed, including those expressed by Turkish citizens.

The Espoo Convention , adopted in 1991, sets out the obligations of parties to assess the environmental impact of certain activities at an early stage of planning. It also lays down the general obligation of states to notify and consult each other on all major projects under consideration that are likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact across boundaries

The assembly also requested from the Turkish government to consult with neighbouring countries on the construction of the nuclear plant according to the International Convention on Nuclear Safety.

The construction of the Akkuyu nuclear plant located in the southern province of Mersin was kicked off by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Apr. 3.

The nuclear plant “raises concerns for a possible impact in terms of safety because such a power plant in this area affects our country much more than the largest part of the Turkish territory,” said the Cypriot government’s spokesman Prodromos Prodromou, following the groundbreaking ceremony in Mersin.

“Turkey did not take into account the grave reservations expressed by various quarters, nor did it heed the European Parliament’s call to terminate the construction plans since this is a seismologically vulnerable area,” he said.

Environmentalists in Turkey are also concerned about the potentially destructive ecological consequences of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant and several organisations form Mersin filed a lawsuit to stop its construction

October 13, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, safety, Turkey | Leave a comment

President Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin launch the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant

Akkuyu nuclear plant construction site holds Open Doors Day  MERSİN, 7 Oct 18 The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, whose construction was launched in April in a groundbreaking ceremony, opened its doors on Oct. 6 for the first time.
…..President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin launched the construction of the Akkuyu plant at a ceremony in Ankara in early April.
…….“In 2023, we will put the first unit into operation and Turkey will thereby join those countries that use nuclear energy … On the anniversary of our republic, we will crown this work with success,”  Erdoğan   said.

October 8, 2018 Posted by | politics, Turkey | Leave a comment

Turkey’s President says Turkey will build its own nuclear power station

Turkey to build third nuclear power plant: Erdoğan

ANKARA  Turkey‘s president said June 18 that the country will build a third nuclear power plant.

During a live question-and-answer social media broadcast with Turkish youths, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would build its own nuclear power plant after the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, to be built by Russia…….http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-build-third-nuclear-power-plant-erdogan-133468

June 20, 2018 Posted by | politics, Turkey | Leave a comment

Scientists call on the the International Atomic Energy Agency, NATO to stall Turkey’s dangerous nuclear power developments

Scientists raise alarm over Turkish nuclear reactors  http://www.ekathimerini.com/228268/article/ekathimerini/news/scientists-raise-alarm-over-turkish-nuclear-reactors

A team of Greek scientists have called on the government, the European Union, the International Atomic Energy Agency, NATO and other international organizations to take measures that will halt the creation of nuclear power facilities in the seismically active region of Akkuyu in neighboring Turkey.

The 18 scientists made their appeal in a letter against the backdrop of an agreement struck by Moscow and Ankara for the installation of four nuclear reactors in Turkey.

Listing a series of possible consequences, the scientists raised the alarm, saying that “Turkey plans to obtain 10 nuclear reactors by 2030.”

May 4, 2018 Posted by | safety, Turkey | Leave a comment

Greek and Turkish Cypriots unite to oppose nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, Turkey

Bicommunal action against nuclear power plant held in Nicosia http://cyprus-mail.com/2018/04/27/bicommunal-action-nuclear-power-plant-held-nicosia/ APRIL 27TH, 2018  CNA NEWS SERVICE CYPRUS 

A human chain was formed on Thursday night in a bicommunal demonstration at the Ledra Street checkpoint against the opening of a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, Turkey.

Greek and Turkish Cypriots from more than 40 parties, organisations, movements, trade unions and professional groups held candles and wore gas masks to honour Chernobyl victims with a minute`s silence. Banners wrote ‘Nuclear Free Mediterranean’ and ‘Not in Nuclear’.

A joint statement read in Greek and Turkish said nuclear power plants are not only a threat to the environment but affect the health and safety of people of the surrounding areas. A possible leak could pose a huge risk to both workers and residents. “Pollution of the environment (air, soil, subsoil, water) in the unfortunate case of an accident, would affect not only the area itself, since radioactivity travels by affecting large geographic areas”, it said.

Akkuyu is a highly seismic area and radiation from the ‘normal’ operation of the plant as well as any serious leak would gradually destroy the quality of life of nearby living beings, including humans, the statement said. “The eastern Mediterranean basin is a huge and interconnected ecosystem. In the instance of a radiation leak, this will harm hundreds of kilometres around the nuclear plants”.

The Chernobyl accident, which occurred 32 years ago, is still creating problems to people and the environment all around the Black Sea basin, it added.

“Nuclear waste by itself is an environmental disaster that will last for centuries and no one can claim that there is a safe way for its disposal, since the danger of a leak is always there. The cost of the disposal of nuclear waste is very high and this negates the theory that nuclear power is a cheap source of energy”. It also asked if there is anybody who wishes to keep nuclear waste for tens of thousands of years buried on their land.

Τhe power plant is only 90 kilometres off the northern coast of Cyprus.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, opposition to nuclear, Turkey | Leave a comment

Japanese trading house Itochu ‘pulls out of nuclear plant project in Turkey’

Japanese Itochu ‘pulls out of nuclear plant project in Turkey’http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/japanese-itochu-pulls-out-of-nuclear-plant-project-in-turkey-130811, TOKYO , 24 Apr 18

Japanese trading house Itochu is pulling out of a nuclear power plant project in Turkey due to a surge in safety-related costs, casting uncertainty over the plant’s future as well as the Japanese government’s infrastructure export ambitions, as reported by Nikkei on April 24.

The project was agreed on by the Japanese and Turkish governments in 2013. A consortium including Itochu and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries had been conducting a feasibility study until March for the construction of a 4,500-megawatt plant in the city of Sinop in Turkey’s Black Sea region.

But costs related to safety measures surged after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, and the estimated costs for the project ballooned to more than five trillion yen ($46.2 billion) from two trillion yen in 2013, according to the report.

Itochu, which was jointly conducting the feasibility study with its consortium partners, is expected to avoid involvement in the project. Mitsubishi Heavy and other investors in the consortium have already extended the feasibility study until this summer.

Initially, 30 percent of the project’s cost was planned to be covered by the consortium and 70 percent by loans from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and other lenders.

The consortium was expected to be 51 percent owned by Mitsubishi Heavy, Itochu and French electric utility Engie, and 49 percent by others entities, including the Turkish Electricity Generation Corporation.

The departure of deep-pocketed Itochu will make the project more risky for Mitsubishi Heavy, which is requesting the Turkish government to change the ownership structure of the consortium.

April 25, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, Turkey | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy is not coming to Turkey quickly

 https://ahvalnews.com/akkuyu/nuclear-energy-not-coming-turkey-quickly – 5 April 18, Nuclear technology is, no doubt, one of the hallmarks of state power and prestige.   That is certainly the case with Russia. Aside of the nuclear arsenal, which President Vladimir Putin bragged about during his “state of the union” address last month, Moscow takes pride in being a global leader in nuclear energy.

In an economy overwhelmingly reliant on hydrocarbons and other raw materials, apart from the arms industry, nuclear energy is one technology-intensive sector where Russia is among world leaders.

Turkey likewise has its eyes set on nuclear energy. Since 1970, it has been pursuing plans to build a nuclear power plant. But Turkey has lagged behind neighbours, including Armenia, whose Metsamor station is kilometres away from the Turkish border, Bulgaria, which has been the top exporter of electricity to Turkey in 2017, Romania and Iran.

Turkey’s economic growth and expanding population is expected to drive up demand for electricity in the next decade. Nuclear also promises to facilitate to the transition to a low-carbon economy. Not only does it displace coal, but it also makes renewables (hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal) more appealing. When the sun does not shine or the wind is low, there is a need for back-up. Government officials in Ankara have been making plans for two or even three nuclear power plants on both the Mediterranean and the Black Sea coasts.

So Russia and Turkey look like a perfect match. One has the goods, the other – the market. And on top of that, the two former rivals have been getting diplomatically and politically closer.

Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met once again in Ankara this week, joined later by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. The Russian and Turkish leaders oversaw  – via video conference – the groundbreaking ceremony of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, near the Mediterranean city of Mersin.

Started in 2010 and implemented by Russia’s state-owned conglomerate Rosatom, the project’s first unit should be completed by 2023, the centennial of the Turkish Republic. Once all four units become operational, they will generate about 10 percent of Turkey’s electricity – enough to keep a huge city like Istanbul running.

The start of construction carries huge political symbolism. The Akkuyu project was frozen when Russia and Turkey fell out in late November 2015. Its restart in October 2016, when Putin was guest of honour the World Energy Congress in Istanbul, signalled a turnaround in relations between the two countries.

Yet behind the grand political façade, it is not all roses and sunshine. For starters, Russia managed to twist the Turkish government’s arm and obtain tax breaks to the tune of $3 billion before the relaunch. Moscow has good reason to drive a tough bargain. Akkuyu follows the Build-Operate-Own (BOO) model where Rosatom shoulders the financial risk from the $20 billion venture. The Turkish Electricity Trading and Contracting Company (TETAS) has committed to buy electricity from the power plant at fixed prices, but without a quota.

Rosatom, for its part, is in no position to find the cash to fund the project. That is why it transferred 49% of the venture to a Turkish consortium set up by Cengiz, Kolin and Kalyon (CKK) in June 2017. But last February, the three firms pulled out. Sources inside Rosatom said the decision was driven by disagreements. The Russians were unhappy about CKK’ choice of a Chinese consultant. More importantly, the Turks wanted to have a say in managing the projects before securing the financing for their shares.

As experts familiar with the Turkish energy sector point out, these are companies that have no experience and technical expertise with long-horizon projects. They are accustomed to state-funded construction and infrastructure development where there are quick bucks to be made. Akkuyu is a very different kettle of fish. Yet, there is a consolation prize: Cengiz is getting a $465-million hydrotechnical engineering contract with Akkuyu.

Whether Akkuyu moves according to schedule therefore depends on how quickly the Turkish side finds a strategic investor. Ultimately, it might turn out that direct or indirect budget transfers would be required. Like anywhere in the world, nuclear energy is not feasible without some form of state support or even direct payments. In other words, Turkey would end up propping up Rosatom, BOO model notwithstanding. The Russian company has already signed contracts to the tune of $4.2 billion. That is well beyond the $3 billion Rosatom has chipped in so far.

Raising money on global capital markets is a tough proposition, beating in mind the sanctions against Russia. It would not be surprising at all, in that sense, if the Kremlin is pressuring the Turkish government to pay up or bring in another minority shareholder to replace CKK. The question whether this is the most effective way to spend public resources may become pertinent, especially if more clouds start gathering over the Turkish economy.

What we saw this week was not the first launch of Akkuyu. There was already one such ceremony held in December last year. Who knows, there might be more such ceremonies in the future.

April 6, 2018 Posted by | politics, Turkey | Leave a comment