Trust and security problematic at Akkuyu nuclear plant

Trust and security problematic at Akkuyu nuclear plant

Alphan Manas is an entrepreneur and investor as well as the founder of the Turkish Futurists Association. A recent tweet of his points to one of our fundamental problems: trust.

While talking about the third bridge in Istanbul, he said: “No one looks for bad intentions while constructing a new bridge in New York where there are 2,000 bridges and tunnels. Our main problem is trust.”

He is right.

Indeed. Turkish people particularly have ample reason not to trust the state.

For instance, the Turkey Wealth Fund that is now the subject of debate in parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission is a reason by itself for the lack of trust.

This is the kind of controversial draft law that should not be debated during the state of emergency, according to experts. If it is endorsed by parliament, a company tied to the Prime Ministry will be established.

That company will be able to ask for tenders without being subjected to the law on tenders. It will provide financing to projects like the third airport, Kanal Istanbul and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Mersin without being subject to inspection by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Where is transparency, which is one of the most important rules of democracy, in any of this?

Who can talk about trust in the absence of transparency?

Risks at the Akkuyu project

As I have already referred to the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, I want to talk about a report prepared by the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) which will soon be made public.

The point raised in the report which refers to issues like security (against attacks) and safety (against accidents) is important: the build, own, operate (BOO) model will be put in practice for the first time in the world on a nuclear power plant.

In contrast to the presence of the state in other nuclear power plant models, security and safety issue are taking another from at Akkuyu.

As emphasized by Sinan Ülgen, the head of EDAM, when you calculate the construction of a plant at five years and its life span at 60, that requires a stable relationship with Russia until 2080. Who can guarantee a stable relationship until 2080 with Russia, with whom ties were frozen until just recently due to the plane crisis?

Let me briefly summarize the risks to the Akkuyu project that have been highlighted in EDAM’s report.

Who will protect the plant in a country like Turkey facing threats from several terror organizations?

According to international regulations, the company is responsible for the security inside the plant. Russia will work with a local security company.

But Turkey does not possess human resources with the ability to protect a nuclear power plant.

There is no independent commission in Turkey to inspect and monitor the plant.

The Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) is responsible to the Energy Ministry.

How will the transfer of nuclear fuel and waste be conducted?