Image courtesy of AAEM. Akkuyu nuclear power plant development history The Akkuyu project is being developed under an intergovernmental agreement IGA signed between the governments of Russia and Turkey in May The Russian companies proposed to completely fund the project development. Rosatom will supply nuclear fuel for the entire life of the plant, along with managing its disposal.

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Now a Russian-backed project to do so is underway, but experts are skeptical of many aspects of the project. Yet experts say it remains unclear when it would really come online: Neither the required technology transfer from Russia nor a construction completion date has been set.

The project deal between the two countries was agreed to in Each of the four units is intended to generate 1, megawatts of electricity. Does nuclear power have a future? Deadly disaster The worst nuclear disaster of all time, the explosion at Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine released massive amounts of radiation into the atmosphere.

Areas close to the plant - in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia - were heavily contaminated. Heightened levels of radiation were also measured across most of Europe. The "exclusion zone" around Chernobyl remains off-limits to human habitation today.

It happens again After a magnitude-9 earthquake and consequent tsunami, three nuclear reactors at Fukushima power plant in Japan went into meltdown in March There were also four hydrogen explosions.

The accident released times as much radioactive cesium as the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in The clean-up is expected to take decades. Sickening impact After Chernobyl, thousands of people developed cancer.

In Japan too, the heavily contaminated region of Fukushima, where , people lost their homes, saw cases of the disease escalate. The number of children with thyroid cancer there is 20 times higher than other regions. Rallying against nuclear power Chernobyl fueled public opposition to nuclear power, particularly in Europe. The same happened after Fukushima. Before the Japanese disaster, the country relied on nuclear for 30 percent of its power.

That has fallen to 1 percent. The government wants to continue producing nuclear power and plans to reinstall some reactors. But affected regions have successfully pushed back those plans. Nuclear industry in crisis Today, the nuclear power sector is deep in economic crisis. In Japan, the United States and France, nuclear power plants run at a loss, and construction projects for new reactors have been postponed.

New-build set-backs France had high hopes for its newest nuclear reactors - called pressurized water reactors PWRs. This technology was supposed to be safe, and the Flamanville power plant was due to be switched on in The project will cost more than 10 billion euros - three times the original budget.

Costs are estimated at 33 billion euros and groundbreaking is slated for But doubts are growing over its economic viability. The electricity it produces will be much pricier than solar or wind power, and will need subsidies to compete in the market.

Aging reactors up for grabs Nuclear power plants used to be lucrative. But now, many are old and frail. Repair costs often mean they cannot turn a profit. Swiss energy corporation Alpiq recently tried to give away two of its old plants, 33 and 38 years old, to French energy company EDF - which declined the offer.

In , Germany passed a law that would have seen the last reactor shut down in But after Fukushima, Merkel quickly reversed her decision and the phase-out was back on track. To finance the costs of nuclear waste disposal, plant operators must pay The operators themselves are responsible for the similarly costly process of dismantling the plants, which will take decades to complete. Growing fear of accidents Across the EU and Switzerland nuclear reactors are still online.

They were designed to operate for 30 to 35 years - their average age is now 32 years. Malfunctions and security issues are frequently detected and protestors are increasingly calling for plants to be shut down.

China pushes on with nuclear No new nuclear power plants have been built in the EU, Japan or Russia since the Fukushima disaster in China remains committed to nuclear, partly to replace coal-based power. But the country is also upping investment in wind and solar. Turkey must diversify its energy sources, says Tugce Varol, an energy expert from the 21st Century Turkey Institute in Ankara, and have a long-term view of energy security.

However, the Akkuyu nuclear power plant would be able to at most take over 7. But such a project should happen within a developed or at least developing democracy so there is the possibility for and the freedom to have critical feedback," she added.

A nuclear power plant project in a country whose media cannot be critical and commercial bids lack transparency does "more harm than good," she said. Rosatom disputes this. No country should proceed with building a nuclear power plant, says atomic expert Sarman Gencay, without being fully briefed on atomic technology. Gencay, a professor at Istanbul Technical University, said the nuclear deal between Russia and Turkey does not guarantee the transfer. Because when a nuclear energy project comes to a halt, it is always the contracting country left with the bill.

Moscow makes sure it controls investments in the energy sector, she said, and it is interested in expanding its energy network further south. Unrelated agreements could adversely impact the power plant project, she added, for example should Turkey opt out of buying a Russian missile defense system. For Gencay, it is essential that such a project be based on long-term, stable energy policy, which he does not see being the case. Only then would Turkey have a reliable nuclear policy.


Akkuyu: Turkey's first nuclear reactor site

In addition to the units listed above, the government has announced intentions for two further nuclear power plants with four reactors each, all to be operational by Design certification in country of origin was acceptable, allowing TAEK to concentrate on site-specific aspects of the MWe project. After some deliberation, TAEK found that it met technical criteria. Following commercial advice from TETAS, a government decision was expected in April , but in fact only a series of statements resulted, regarding the cost of power over the first 15 years being too high. One was a nuclear cooperation agreement, the other was a standard one on the early notification on a nuclear accident and the exchange of information on nuclear facilities. The first reactor was expected to come online in , and others in , and


Akkuyu nuclear plant: Turkey and Russia's atomic connection

The intergovernmental cooperation agreement on the NPP was ratified by the two governments in Delayed in and cancelled in , the project was originally intended to produce 3,MW. The first unit was planned to be commissioned in and the second in December The first unit is now expected to achieve its first criticality in the second half of


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The project opens up new vistas for cooperation between Russia and Turkey and provides opportunities for exchange of technologies and experience. Energy for life This project offers considerable business opportunities to Turkish suppliers. The new Office started its operations on March 06, The stake of Rosatom State Corporation in the project is The total project cost is estimated at 20 billion US dollars. To date, the Akkuyu NPP construction project is in an active phase. All construction work and infrastructure development activities at the Akkuyu NPP construction site are being performed subject to mandatory implementation of the current norms and laws of the Republic of Turkey, as well as the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA for the entire period of construction and operation of the nuclear power plant.


Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant


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