Nuclear Energy in Turkey: Akkuyu, Sinop And İğneada - Kaan Demirci



For nearly 50 years, Turkey has been planning to build nuclear power plants and operate this plant to produce energy plans. Having an increasingly important place in today’s world, nuclear energy is a very important step for a country to grow economically and to produce its energy. Today, Turkey imports a very serious part of its energy needs. The primary sources Turkey uses to meet its electricity needs are natural gas (37%), coal (33%), and hydropower (20%). According to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (ETKB), Turkey’s electricity consumption in 2023 will jump to 357TWh. To supply such demand, create an alternative scenario to Russian and Iranian gas, nuclear energy could be a very efficient choice.



Since 1970, several nuclear power projects have been proposed. First, the purpose was to settle a plant with 300 MWe power. Six years later, Akkkuyu location was licensed for a nuclear plant, and in 1980, attempts to build several plants failed because of government budget problems. In 1993, a nuclear power plant (NPP) was on the agenda again, and the government started an investment program for NPP, and bids for 2000 MWe plant at Akkuyu were received. Early in 2006, Sinop province was chosen to host a commercial NPP. The location has a great advantage for cooling water temperatures by using cold Black Sea water. In 2006, the government announced that three NPPs with 4500 MWe power was planning to actualize in 2012-2015. The first units of Akkuyu were built at Akkuyu since the site already licensed, but the licensing process for Sinop was continuing. In 2007, TBMM legislated a law concerning the construction and operation of NPPs and their electricity sale. In May 2008, a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the USA entered into force; in June 2010, a nuclear cooperation agreement with South Korea was signed, and in April 2012, two such agreements with China were signed.


With the agreement signed in 2010 between Turkey and Russia, Akkuyu NPP started, and its cost has guessed like 22 billion dollars. 4 units with 1200 MWe power each are expected to start operation in 2023. According to experts, Akkuyu NPP with four units can meet 10% of Turkey’s energy needs. As the second project, Sinop NPP9 is expected to locate at Sinop, İnceburun. Its cost is guessed as 20 billion dollars. Experts announced that Sinop NPP could start operations in the 2030s. For the third NPP, minister of energy and natural resources announced that it would be located at İğneada, Kırklareli, in 2015. Its project will be maintained with experts from China and the US. However, its construction and operation dates are not determined yet.


Turkey has modest uranium resources. The Temrezli deposit in the central Anatolian region 220 km east of Ankara was discovered by the Department of Energy, Raw Material, and Exploration (MTA) in the early 1980s. MTA continued to explore the region for the next ten years. Regional towns of Yozgat and Sorgun are nearby.US-based Westwater Resources (formerly Uranium Resources Inc., URI) was planning to develop the Temrezli ISL mine. Australian-based Anatolia Energy had a 100% interest in 18 exploration licenses, which included the Temrezli project. Project activities were undertaken by Adur Madencilik, a wholly-owned subsidiary. In June 2015, Westwater Resources took over Anatolia Energy. In June 2018, Westwater Resources received notification from the Turkish government that its mining and exploration licenses for the Temrezli and Sefaatli projects had been revoked. The projects were owned by the company’s Turkish subsidiary Adur Madencilik LTD CO., which had held exclusive rights for the exploration and development of uranium there since 2007 and had invested heavily in them. In December 2018, Westwater filed a request for arbitration on the matter.


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