Senior manager at Akkuyu nuclear project resigns, says Turkey shouldn't work with Russian company

Senior manager at Akkuyu nuclear project resigns, says Turkey shouldn't work with Russian company

MERSİN – Doğan News Agency
Senior manager at Akkuyu nuclear project resigns, says Turkey shouldnt work with Russian company

DHA Photo

A senior manager at Turkey’s first nuclear power plant in the Mediterranean province of Mersin has resigned from his post, claiming that even though Turkey needs nuclear technology, it should not be done with contracted Russian company Rosatom. 

Faruk Uzel, who worked as the Public Diplomacy and Government Relations Manager for the Akkuyu Nuclear Joint Stock Company for four years, resigned from the company, saying the project should not proceed with Russian state-owned Rosatom, as they were unprofessional.  

“This project needs to be done but not with these people,” said Uzel to a group of journalists at a press conference he organized at the Association of Journalists’ Mersin branch on Sept. 3.

“They [the state] should give up this project which is amateur, novice and full of technical faults. They should conduct it with more professional partners,” Uzel added. 

Speaking at the conference, Uzel asked how a company, which could not isolate underground water from an information center built one-meter below ground level, could build a nuclear power plant 12-meters below ground level and near the sea. 

Uzel asked if it was true that Rosatom did not think to consider the shore edge line while placing reactors and thus placed one below the shore line. He added that because of this fault, the company could not continue the project and is currently waiting for a change in law to proceed. 

Commenting on why the Russian company did not want to be transparent about radiation tracking and measurement, Uzel asked why they had rejected the requests of Mersin University and the representatives of the Mersin citizens about the issue. 

Uzel said he decided to resign because he voiced the great risks of the project built by the Russian company held. 

“I declare that, while supporting my country’s efforts to construct a nuclear power plant and possess this technology, I have resigned from the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant Project as a result of mentioning the observation that the nuclear power plant, which the Russian company’s activities and mentality will construct, is a great risk to my country and nation,” read the message Uzel sent journalists on Sept. 1. 

Meanwhile, Uzel also responded to questions about recent allegations about him regarding embezzled money and sexually harassing women employees and women visitors to the facility. He said the allegations were sent to the press right after Uzel received a phone call from a company official following his message about his resignation to his close circle. 

“Yesterday [Sept. 2] morning, I had a telephone conversation with an official calling on behalf of the company, [saying] that I should refute the message I released and issue a correction or else they would lynch me,” said Uzel, adding that it was after this phone call that he had decided to hold a press conference, guessing that he would be the subject of a smear campaign. 

Uzel said it was after his press conference that the e-mail with allegations against him was distributed. 

The Akkuyu Nuclear Joint Stock Company was established after Rosatom signed an agreement with the Turkish Energy Ministry to build and operate the nuclear power plant in 2011. 

Turkey’s former energy minister, Taner Yıldız, said it was not possible for Turkey to cancel the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant as the project has been made upon an intergovernmental agreement between Turkey and Russia, on June 4. 

The nuclear plant will require a $22 billion investment and will have a life cycle of 60 years.