AKKUYU STORY of TURKEY

It may be one of the best TV series that I have ever watched, Chernobyl, was a story of a socialist government which has been choked between the hierarchy of bureaucracy, careless bureaucrats and the scientists who try to survive in the way of science even under high pressure of socialist system’s realities.It pushed me up to search deeper in order to get knowledge about Turkey and her interests in terms of nuclear activity.

As you have seen on the newsletters, directly the president of Turkey stated strongly “Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads, not one or two. But (they tell us) we can’t have them. This, I cannot accept,”.[1]When I was questioning myself like what is this all about, the new nuclear power plant which is still under construction in Gulnar, Mersin popped up in my brain.Was everything that simple in order to create a society which is supporting the nuclear activity?

Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant is a joint project between the Russian atomic energy company Rosatom and Akkuyu Nukleer Inc. which has been started in 2015 with contributions of Taner Yildiz, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.However the major construction got started in 2018 with contributions of Turkey’s Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.Project is planned to start producing energy when the first reactor’s construction is done.[2] The type of reactor is stated as PWR (Pressurized Water Reactor) and the model is 3rd generation VVER-1200 (AES-2006).It provides Turkey 60 years operating life at least 90% productivity ratio.[3] When we look at the nuclear history of Russia and USSR, everbody can clearly see that it is not that bright.I do know that history repeats itself if you do not take precautions.In addition to that, when we look at the history of VVERs, we easily reach until before 1970ies.It had been developed in Soviet Union and still it is developed by Russian Federation.It is an accepted type of reactor model by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and reports which have been published by IAEA may be seen easily about VVER-1200 with a basic Google search.[4]

Ancestors of the VVERs can be ordered as first generation VVER used by Soviet Union and East Germany, second generation which is fair popular VVER-440s are still used by Slovakia, Armenia, Ukraine, Hungary, Czech Republic and Finland, third generation VVER-1000s still used by Bulgaria, Ukraine, China, India and Iran and third plus generation mostly under construction which are going to be operated by Russia, Belarus, Turkey and Bangladesh.[5]Turkey is going to be operating the most developed version of VVER-1200 according to her Russian partners but is everything fine with it? We can clearly see that the countries that have Russian power plants are not mostly from the western part of the world.So, what’s really happening for VVER users in the world?

First generation VVERs, Novovoronezh 1 and 2 has been decommissioned by Russia, Rheinsberg has been decommissioned in East Germany.Second generation VVER-440s, Greifswald 1-4 and 5 in Germany, Kozloduy 1-4 in Bulgaria, Bohunice 1-2 in Slovakia have been decommissioned as well but in general 76% of the VVERs are still producing energy in accordance with their duties.

Modelling of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant

Producing the energy within better ways and options can satisfy the Turkey’s energy necessities, that is obvious.However the Russia addiction for the information, data and technology may not be good for a country who is continually pursuing a balance policy between two pole of the world.Turkey is importing nearly almost of its natural gas and liquid fuel need (99.3%) from other countries mainly on Russia(52%) and Iran(17%), Azerbaijan(12%), Algeria(8%)[6].In addition to this, according to Turkey’s electricity production plan which is 80 billion kWh yearly, Turkey needs 16 billion m3 natural gas and it costs around 7.2 billion USD.Instead of the payment which is going to be paid for natural gas imports for three years, 4 unit nuclear power plant can be consturcted easily in Akkuyu, the incorporated company cited in its website.[7] In a nutshell, Turkey still wants to take its part of the new world order as more independent.We clearly see that in every sector leading defence industry.VVERs are clearly still in use with mostly by eastern countries, they look safe, especially the third plus generation is more acceptable by the western authorities. Nevertheless, to be honest, producing the energy with the fuel that we are addicted does not sound plausible for me instead of working more on the renewable resources.Hopefully, the 50[8] students who are currently studying in Russia for Akkuyu can learn everything better in order not to cause any issue thay may happen in the future.


[1] Ece Toksabay, Erdogan says it’s unacceptable that Turkey can’t have nuclear weapons, Reuters, September 4, 2019, page 1. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-nuclear-erdogan/erdogan-says-its-unacceptable-that-turkey-cant-have-nuclear-weapons-idUSKCN1VP2QN

[2] Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, Wikipedia English, September 11, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akkuyu_Nuclear_Power_Plant

[3] Akkuyu NPP, Akkuyu Nuclear Inc., September 20, 2019. http://www.akkuyu.com/npp-2

[4] Status Report 108, VVER-1200(V-491), International Atomic Energy Agency, January 8, 2011. https://aris.iaea.org/PDF/VVER-1200(V-491).pdf

[5] VVER-1200, Wikipedia English, September 11, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VVER

[6] Ülkeler Bazında Doğalgaz İthalatı, Turkish Petroleum Inc., 2018. http://www.tpao.gov.tr/?mod=sektore-dair&contID=43

[7] Mersin Türkiye’nin Enerjisine Enerji Katacak, Akkuyu Nuclear Inc. September 20, 2019. http://www.akkunpp.com/mersin-turkiyenin-enerjisine-enerji-katacak

[8] Hurriyet Daily News, Over 50 Turkish experts to work in Akkuyu Nuclear JSC, February 23, 2019. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/over-50-turkish-experts-to-work-in-akkuyu-nuclear-jsc-141436

Oğuzhan Çiçek
Editor in Chief of The FEAS Journal©, Gazi University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of International Relations.
Posts created 6

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