Turkey’s nuke plant model ‘sets example’
Turkish Enery Minister Taner Yıldız (C) speaks at the ‘Nuclear Power: The Year After Fukushima’ panel at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum. AA photo
Reiterating Turkey’s determination to go ahead with plans to build nuclear power plants, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said yesterday that the Turkish “build-operate” model had received appreciation as the most suitable model by nuclear circles, especially after the Fukushima accident.
“Nuclear Energy is a necessity. We need nuclear energy for sustainable policies, our resoluteness on that point has never been shaken,” said Yıldız, speaking at a panel on nuclear power at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
When asked, “Why are Western companies staying away from Turkey’s nuclear power plants?” by a Turkish journalist after the panel, Yıldız replied: “This is a good question, actually you should ask them.”
In answer to the follow up question, “Is it because the Turkish model might not be attractive for them?” he said: “There is a conviction that this is actually the right model … Those who are familiar and knowledgeable on nuclear issues, who are not so many, told us that ours is actually the most appropriate model, and the validity of that has become even more apparent after Fukushima … This is a unique model and no country or firm has worked with this model until now … We say: find the money, build, operate and share the risks. We [Turkey] openly confess that we have no nuclear culture.”
The build-operate model will be applied by the Russian firm Rosatom in Akkuyu, near the Turkish Mediterranean town of Mersin. Alexander Superfin, the chief executive officer of the Akkuyu NGS AŞ, said a large scale site investigation was continuing and that the site survey was expected to be completed by end of this year. Talking to a group of Turkish journalists, he said the environmental impact assessment had been submitted and that the company assumed that it would get approval within a year, and that they were also expecting to get the electricity generating license by next April.
“In many countries there are those who are not happy with the development of nuclear power. This is understandable, especially more so in countries where there has been no nuclear power,” he said when asked about objections coming from Turkish society to the nuclear plant. “It is extremely important to deal with the opposition. We need to educate, as concerns come from a lack of understanding,” Superfin said.
“It is the responsibility of the operation organization, as well as the host country, to deal with public opinion together. We have a PR campaign. We have been visiting the local areas in Mersin, Adana, Gaziantep. We also need the host country to support us on our PR campaign,” he said.
Superfin said an information center in Mersin would soon be opened for the public to come and enquire about the issue.
“Our objective is to create a good neighborhood policy. We want to create jobs. So we are discussing with local industrialists for the supply of certain goods,” he added.