IAEA Support for Turkey's Nuclear Power Programme

Representatives of the Ministries of Energy and of Environment, the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority, the Energy Market Regulatory Authority and the Electricity Generation Company with IAEA mission team members, Ankara, 7 November 2012.

14 November 2012 –Turkey and the IAEA have agreed on a close cooperation in the development of the national infrastructure for the country’s new nuclear power programme. Senior IAEA experts met with Turkish government officials in Ankara on 6-7 November 2012 to share information about Turkey’s ambitious programme and discuss the dedicated services which the IAEA offers to Member States embarking on a nuclear power programme.

“A priority area for the IAEA is what we call ‘advanced newcomers’, that is countries that have made a clear decision and are moving forward with plans for nuclear power”, said JK Park, Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Power, who led the IAEA mission to Turkey. “Turkey is certainly one of the most important and advanced embarking countries”, he added, and expressed his appreciation for the comprehensive discussion. “Turkey is different to many newcomers because of the high level of nuclear knowledge and because of its development status with a vibrant economy”, emphasized Mr Park.

Turkey, which has considered nuclear power generation since the 1970s, plans to build three nuclear power plants to meet the rapidly increasing demand for electricity and support the country’s economic development.

In 2010, Turkey and the Russian Federation signed an agreement for the construction and operation of the first nuclear power plant at the Akkuyu site in southern Turkey, as a BOO (build-own-operate) project. The first of Akkuyu’s four units, with a total capacity of 4800 MWe, is scheduled to be commissioned in 2021. The second nuclear power plant will be built at the Sinop site on the Black Sea, while the third project is still under discussion.

Turkey has requested the IAEA to schedule an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) in November next year. “A pre-requisite for this review is a self-evaluation to be completed by the Member State”, explained Anne Starz, Head of the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Group at the IAEA, who participated in the talks. The roadmap for the INIR mission was established during the meeting including Agency assistance for the self-evaluation.

“These activities and the INIR can be implemented under the framework of the Europe regional  technical cooperation programme”, said Manase Peter Salema, Director of the TC Division for Europe, who also participated in the visit to Ankara, together with a senior safety officer from the IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. Turkey may also request assistance from the Agency in the areas of economic and financing models for the Sinop project, legislative assistance, public information, and industrial involvement.

“We realize that every country has different needs and is at a different stage of development. We believe that IAEA guidance is flexible and can be adapted well to national needs and local conditions”, concluded JK Park.

The INIR mission is an international peer review of the comprehensive integrated infrastructure needed to introduce a national nuclear programme. The mission reviews the 19 issues identified in the Agency's publication Milestones in the Introduction of a National Nuclear Power Programme (NE Series NG-T-3.1).