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Democracy is forgotten for the sake of nuclear power in Turkey

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Özgür Gürbüz

Turkey's nuclear ambition is not limited to the Akkuyu power plant in the south ‒ the north has its own problem. Sinop is the second place where the government of Turkey wants to build a nuclear power plant with the help of Japanese and French firms.

While the Akkuyu project's future gets cloudy after the announcement of the withdrawal of potential Turkish partners, the Sinop project suddenly came on to the agenda with an Environmental Impact Assessment Report and its legal obligation to hold a public participation meeting. The name is misleading though. On 6 February 2018, environmentalists of Sinop, members of the Anti-Nuclear Platform together with MPs and several NGOs gathered to join the public participation meeting only to face fences, police barricades, water cannon vehicles and pepper gas.

That was an unusually tense morning for a city like Sinop, one of Turkey's 'happiest cities' according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. Early birds of Sinop witnessed a strange activity with tens of police officers and plainclothes people jumping on buses. They were soon to fill the conference hall of Sinop University as the "selected public", leaving no room for anti-nuclear activists or even ordinary people wishing to learn and raise questions about the nuclear project. Buses left the city centre as early as 4.30am. Judging by the number-plates, three of them were brought from nearby provinces to Sinop. Some of the people on board were in uniforms and some were not, but they were going to be part of the same play named, "I love nuclear".

All these efforts proved to be effective since the conference hall was full before sunrise. Everybody who could ask serious questions about the project or protest the meeting were left out by police barricades, built as far as one kilometre from the venue. That included the Sinop MP Barış Karadeniz, Sinop's mayor Baki Ergül and other MPs (Orhan Bursalı, Ali Şeker), as well as the representative of the Chamber of Electrical Engineers or lawyers who came on behalf of Turkey's Bar Association. People of Sinop understood that the public participation meeting was only for the "selected public". Although it is very difficult to stage democratic protests in Turkey at the moment due to the State of Emergency, people protesting the project chanted behind the police roadblock to make their voices heard under the pouring rain.

After one hour of waiting, people decided to submit their petition of objection to the office of the Governor where they faced another police barricade. The march through the barricade was stopped by the police with the use of pepper spray. Soon after, the police and the protesters managed to reach an agreement and a committee of MPs, lawyers and the members of the anti-nuclear movement saw the Governor of Sinop Hasan İpek, and handed over more than 200 petitions claiming that their right to join the meeting was revoked. While negotiations continued in the governor's office, the crowd outside kept on protesting the nuclear power plant project, which is planned to be built through a Japanese-French consortium between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Engie. Together they will hold 51% of the shares and the rest will be controlled by Turkey's Electricity Generation Company EUAS).

A man managed to get inside the conference hall and criticize the nuclear project. The news and videos showed that he was attacked by the crowd, and then he was taken into custody by the police. This is a clear indication that EUAS International ICC has no intention to have an open and democratic debate regarding the nuclear project. What they say is simple: "Either you love it or you have to love it". That raises a question. Would there be any such anti-democratic treatment if that project was in France or Japan?

Regardless of the excess capacity of Turkey's electricity market and high purchase guarantees extended to nuclear power plants, the government of Turkey is still keen to realize deadly nuclear projects. They still do not admit it but they have chosen the wrong path to solve the country's energy problem.

Turkish nuclear power project agreement

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

On October 29 the Turkish government signed an agreement with a consortium led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to build four nuclear power reactors in the Black Sea city of Sinop at an estimated cost of more than US$22 billion.

The agreement marks Japan's first nuclear plant export since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The Japanese government hopes that the contract with Turkey will improve Japan's chances in winning competition for nuclear power projects in Vietnam, India and Russia, among other countries. Tokyo's Abe administration has signed nuclear energy agreements with Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and has agreed to start discussing a nuclear energy agreement with Saudi Arabia as well as resuming talks with India, which were suspended in the aftermath of Fukushima.[1]

Some disaster victims are unhappy with Abe's push for nuclear plant exports while problems continue to mount in Japan. Soichi Saito, a 63-year-old who evacuated from Futaba and heads an association of temporary housing residents in Iwaki, told Asahi Shimbun: "How dare he sell nuclear power plants abroad when he has not been able to bring an accident under control? What does he think of victims of the nuclear disaster?"[1] Even the wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly urged her husband to stop exporting nuclear technology since the government is struggling to contain the situation at Fukushima.[11]

The Mainichi Shimbun reported on October 14 that about 40% of Japanese nuclear plant equipment exported over the past decade failed to go through national government safety inspections. Inspections of equipment to be exported are only carried out if manufacturers receive loans from the government-affiliated Japan Bank for International Cooperation or take out insurance policies from Nippon Export and Investment Insurance. The Mainichi Shimbun states that this "is in sharp contrast to the requirement that all devices for domestic nuclear power stations be subject to strict government safety inspections."[2]

Among the items exported without inspection are key components such as nuclear reactor pressure vessels, their lids and control rod driving systems. Keio University professor Masaru Kaneko said: "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claimed in a speech overseas that Japan can provide the world's safest atomic power technology, but how can Japan guarantee the safety of nuclear plant equipment Japanese firms export without a proper system to examine it?"[2]

Opposition to the Japan-Turkey Nuclear Agreement

Japanese NGOs, including the Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society and Friends of the Earth Japan, are promoting petitions calling on the Japan's National Diet not to ratify the Japan-Turkey Nuclear Agreement.

Issues raised by the groups include:

  • Turkey is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.
  • The Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC) is conducting a geological survey in Sinop, Turkey, but it is the JAPC arguing that fault lines under the Tsuruga nuclear plant in Japan are inactive even though the Nuclear Regulation Authority has determined otherwise.
  • Turkey does not have an independent nuclear regulator, and the Atomic Energy Authority functions both as promoter and regulator.
  • Turkey does not have plans for disposing of radioactive waste.
  • The mayor of Sinop was elected in 2009 on the anti-nuclear platform that rejected the construction of nuclear reactors in terms of their negative effects on the city's tourism industry. Since then, he has continued to express his opposition. Sinop residents have also organised numerous demonstrations against the construction of nuclear reactors.

To sign the petition and for more information visit:

It seems unlikely that the Japanese parliament will consider the Nuclear Agreement before the current session ends on December 6.[10]

Failed nuclear projects in Turkey

World Nuclear News outlines a long history of failed nuclear power projects in Turkey: "Several nuclear power projects have been proposed over the years in Turkey: In 1970 a feasibility study concerned a 300 MWe plant; in 1973 the electricity authority decided to build a 80 MWe demonstration plant but didn't; in 1976 the Akkuyu site on the Mediterranean coast near the port of Mersin was licensed for a nuclear plant. In 1980 an attempt to build several plants failed for lack of government financial guarantee. In 1993 a nuclear plant was included in the country's investment program following a request for preliminary proposals in 1992 but revised tender specifications were not released until December 1996. Bids for a 2000 MWe plant at Akkuyu were received from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, Westinghouse & Mitsubishi as well as Framatome & Siemens. Following the final bid deadline in October 1997, the government delayed its decision no less than eight times between June 1998 and April 2000, when plans were abandoned due to economic circumstances."[3]

The pattern persisted in the 2000s. A tender for the construction and operation of a new nuclear power plant ended in September 2008 with only one bid − an expensive Russian offer for four VVER reactors put forward by AtomStroyExport in conjunction with Inter Rao and Park Teknik of Turkey. In late 2009, authorities cancelled the tender process [3] following a successful court challenge against the project launched by the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects.[4]

Akkuya nuclear project

Despite the cancellation of the tender process in 2009, plans for four Russian-built, Russian-financed VVER-1200 reactors are still being pursued, and site preparation has begun at Akkuya. Project partners hope to secure a reactor construction licence in 2014.[5] It is said to be the world's first nuclear power project based on BOO (build-own-operate) principles − under the long-term contract, the Russian company Akkuyu NPP JSC, a subsidiary of Rosatom, will design, construct, operate and decommission the plant, take a 51% stake in the project, and benefit from a guaranteed price for the electricity generated. As at Sinop, there is significant opposition to the Akkuya nuclear project.[6,7,8,9]

In June 2012, energy minister Taner Yildiz said Turkey is "determined to have nuclear power plants" and wants to build "at least 23 nuclear units by the year 2023".[9]

[1] 31 Oct 2013,
[2] 14 Oct 2013, '40% of Japan nuclear tech exported over past decade failed to go through safety check',
[3] WNN, 9 Dec 2009, 'Turkey abandons nuclear bid',
[4] Ozgur Gurbuz, 20 Nov 2009, 'Another setback on Turkey's nuclear dream',
[5] WNN, 3 May 2013, 'First selection of Atmea1 nuclear reactor',
[8] Elisabeth Jeffries, 20 Nov 2013, 'BOO: exploring the model for emerging markets',
[9] John Daly, 21 Nov 2013, 'Foreign Investment Sought for Turkey's First Nuclear Power Plant',
[11] 13 Nov 2013, 'Wife tells Japan Prime Minister to stop exporting nuclear plants',

More information:

Greenpeace tells BNP-Paribas 'stop dangerous radioactive investments'

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

On October 21, Greenpeace activists in a number of European countries (Russia, Luxemburg, Turkey and France) called on the international bank BNP Paribas to “stop radioactive investments”, including its plans to fund an obsolete, dangerous nuclear reactor in Brazil. 

In Paris, Greenpeace activists used a BNP decorated armoured truck to deliver millions of fake ‘radioactive BNP-Paribas notes’ to AREVA’s, headquarters, the company that is building Angra 3, exposing the nuclear link between the two.  The banking group, which provides more finance to nuclear industry than any other bank in the world: BNP invested €13.5 billion (US$ 18.7 billion) in nuclear energy projects from 2000-2009. Profundo, independent investments consultancy research. Summary of the findings, as well as full report, available at  BNP is planning to provide crucial financing for the construction of the nuclear reactor Angra 3, just 150 kilomet-rers from Rio de Janeiro, as part of a French banking consortium. The total amount that is reported to be negotiated is €1.1billion.  

"Angra 3 must be cancelled. It uses technology that pre-dates the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and that would not be permitted for use in the countries that are financing it. There has been no proper safety analysis and the legality of the project is in doubt. It will not benefit the people of Brazil,” said Jan Beránek Greenpeace International nuclear campaigner. 

“BNP’s customers have the right to know that their bank is misusing their money. Brazil does not need more nuclear electricity, it has abundant wind, hydro and biomass resources for energy – all of which provide cheaper options without creating environmental and health hazards,” he continued. 

The construction of Angra 3 started in 1984 and stopped in 1986 following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, when banks withdrew their funding. Most of the equipment that will be used to build the reactor pre-dates Chernobyl and has been left on the site for the last 25 years. It is now dangerously obsolete. 

Angra 3 falls far behind current generation of reactor technologies, which themselves suffer safety problems, construction delays and skyrocketing costs. Any large-scale upgrades and adaptations required to integrate new safety requirements will lead not only to higher construction costs, but also increase the risk of unplanned outages during its operation. There are additional safety concerns, such as, in its planning, there was no risk-analysis carried out, in clear violation of international standards: International Atomic Energy Agency Safety Requirements stipulate that the probabilistic safety assessment is performed and evaluated prior to construction. This has not been done for Angra 3 as is pointed out in both the official license from Brazil’s nuclear regulator CNEN (Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear)as well as from ISTEC German report. Angra 3 is accessible only via one road, which frequently is blocked due landslides. As is the reality for all nuclear reactors, there is still no permanent or safe solution for storing hazardous nuclear waste, which remains lethal for millennia.  

"The financial players have been telling us for too long they are not responsible for the direction of energy, it is a political problem. In reality, it is they as well as manufacturers who allow these dangerous nuclear projects to see the light of day,"said Sophia Majnoni d’Intignano, Greenpeace France nuclear campaigner.  

"It is high time that the banks fulfil their responsibilities. Greenpeace calls on BNP Paribas to announce its immediate withdrawal from Angra 3 and allow full transparency on its radioactive investments.”  

Greenpeace launched this campaign on 16 October, when volunteers began putting posters up around BNP branches and stickers on its ATM machines asking the public: "Do you know what your bank does with your money? " 

For more information check:    
Source: Greenpeace Press release, 21 October 2010


Turkey: hard times ahead

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
WISE Amsterdam

In Turkey the ruling AK-Party government struck a deal with the Russians on international level in order to circumvent a national verdict against the available nuclear act shaped by this AKP government. This intergovernmental agreement will surpass and nullify the national court decision against the current nuclear law and regulation.

Russian and Turkish heads of state have signed an intergovernmental agreement for Rosatom to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant of four 1200 MWe VVER reactors, at Akkuyu, on the eastern Mediterranean coast. Rosatom, through Atomstroyexport and Inter RAO UES, will finance the project and start off with 100% equity. Longer-term they intend to retain at least 51% of the company which will build, own and operate the plant. This will be Russia's first foreign plant built on that basis. The Turkish firm Park Teknik and state generation company Elektrik Uretim AS (EUAS) are expected to take up significant shares in the US$ 20 billion project. Meanwhile, EUAS will provide the site. Earlier plans faltered on guaranteeing the cost of power. Under the agreement the Turkish Electricity Trade & Contract Corporation (TETAS) will buy a fixed proportion of the power at US$ 12.35 cents/kWh for 15 years, or to 2030. The remainder of the power will be sold on the open market. The Atomstroyexport-led consortium was allowed to resubmit its bid after its initial bid of an offtake guarantee of euro-cents 21.16/kWh was rejected as too high. The current price on Turkey’s nascent power market is around 4 to 14 euro-cents per kWh. (5-17 dollarcents) The consortium’s revised bid of euro-cent 15.35/kWh was still under negotiation when a Turkish court ruling forced the tender to be scrapped.

Sofar the technical details of the deal. We wrote to several people in Turkey for an article analyzing the deal and the political situation. This is one of the replies:

"I am not really very enthusiastic to write yet another "black and blue" article on the ultra liberal approach of the Turkish government to implement nuclear energy among all the other gloom and doom concerning other political issues.

That is to say, we as a country are going through political dark ride, and nuclear plants' ghostly facade is just another one of horror scenes among the many stomach churning road bends we keep on taking, each and every new day.

After about 10 years of AK-Party majority rule with no restraint from opposition parties or strong citizen checks "the ride" is unrelentingly building up social pressure. And it is for sure that we will not get off anywhere near where we boarded the AKP ultra ride initially, but when and where it stops, a totally different terrain will have taken shape beneath our shaky knees.

The twists and turns of every day politics, the developments on very diverse topics as homeland security, foreign relations, economic crisis, urban development, plunder of natural resources, future health of secularity - the threat of tearing down of constitutional judiciary structure... all add up to a general sickening nausea for citizens concerned not with their immediate benefits and profits but with the well being of the society and of future generations..

We can definitely talk about an authoritarian regime being molded out of the per se democratic parliamentary structure…. the approach of the state and the citizens alike have shifted towards a "laissez-faire" state of mind and this already takes its toll on the environment and socio-cultural, sociopolitical structures.

This might explain the stubborn advances of the AK-Party government which went out of its way to struck a deal with the Russians on international level in order to circumvent a national verdict against the available nuclear act shaped by this AKP government. This intergovernmental agreement will surpass and nullify the national court decision against the current nuclear law and regulation.

As NGO's we have exhausted our strategies. This international deal will be proposed in the coming weeks to the Turkish parliament and most probably will be passed and accepted without even due discussion, with majority vote.

Our hands are tied and for what are they tied? To give a nicely packed military souvenir in the Mediterranean to Mr. President Putin. The Russians give out cheerful interviews as it is their very first nuclear power plant enterprise on foreign soil . The whole thing will be built and owned by our northern neighbor .The very same Russia who provides for more than 60% of our natural gas imports. Just crazy! So crazy that one cannot even draw upon any logical thinking process and make logical comments to write up an article..."

Source: WNA Weekly Digest, 13 May 2010 /  Nucleonics Week, 27 May 2010 / and personal email 14 June


In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Utility tries to 'block' sun in Hawaii.

In a popular Simpsons episode, the diabolical Mr. Burns builds a giant disc to eclipse the sun and force Springfield's residents into round-the-clock reliance on electricity from his nuclear power plant. It's pitch-perfect cartoon sarcasm, but with a foot firmly in reality: the fledgling U.S. solar industry faces an array of Burnsian obstacles to its growth across the country.

In Hawaii, for example, the state's largest utility Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) is making a blatant effort to block homes and businesses from installing rooftop solar panels, a move that could strangle Hawaii's burgeoning homegrown solar industry, prevent residents and businesses from saving money, and keep the state addicted to imported oil. If there is anywhere that should be blazing the trail to a clean energy future, it is Hawaii. The islands are blessed with abundant sun, winds, and waves, yet today rely on imported fossil fuels for more than 96 percent of their energy. Hawaii consumers pay the highest electric rates in the nation. The state is trying to chart a new course, but the utility is resisting change and fighting to limit solar access to the local grid.

In so doing, HECO is holding back much more than just Hawaii. It is hindering an important experiment with solar energy that could provide valuable information to consumers, entrepreneurs, utility owners and policymakers throughout the U.S., because the program Hawaii is considering is the feed-in-tariff., 18 March 2010

German minister lifts 10-year ban on Gorleben.

The political and technical battle over the fate of Germany’s repository for high-level nuclear waste accelerated, as German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen announced he was lifting the 10-year moratorium on investigation of the Gorleben salt dome in Lower Saxony. The moratorium was declared in 2000 as part of the nuclear phase-out agreement between the nuclear industry and the then Socialist-Green government. On March 15, Roettgen promised "an open decision-making process and a safety analysis that would be subjected to international peer review". The Gorleben opponents allege that the government plans to privatize nuclear waste storage. "If these plans are implemented, those producing the waste would also be in charge of determining its ultimate repository,” the opponents argue.
Gorleben has been under consideration for the disposal of high- and intermediate-level waste and spent fuel since 1977, when it was selected by the Lower Saxony government as the only candidate for investigation, in a process that is still criticized for eliminating alternative sites too early. A total of about 1.5 billion Euro (US$2 billion) was spent on the site investigation between 1977 and 2007. Opponents have just presented to the media a CD compilation of leaked government documents from the 1970s and 1980s showing that expert studies showing Gorleben to be unsuitable were simply ignored.

First spontaneous protests about the resumption of work have taken place in Gorleben.
Immediately after the announcement of lifting the moratorium, some 300 people demonstrated and were forcibly evicted by the police using pepper spray. At the same day some 5.000 people demonstrated at the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant in southern-germany against possible life-time extension. It was the biggest demonstration at the plant in over 20 years. The national anti-nuclear power movement is gearing up for Chernobyl day, when demonstrations in Biblis (southern Germany), Ahaus (middle Germany) and a 120 km (!) human chain in northern Germany will take place to show massive popular resistance against nuclear power.

Nuclear Fuel, 22 March 2010 /

Sellafield: Radioactive birds.

Seagull eggs at Sellafield (U.K.) are being destroyed in an attempt to control bird numbers because of fears they might spread contamination after landing and swimming in open nuclear waste ponds. Sellafield said the pricking of eggs was reducing gull numbers around the site and stressed there was no public health concerns. However Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) said the gulls could fly well away from the site and spread contamination. In 1998 there was a cull of pigeons because they landed on buildings around Sellafield and spread contamination off-site. One garden in Seascale had its soil declared as low level waste because of the problem.

N-Base Briefing 644, 11 March 2010

S-Korea to build nuclear reactor in Turkey? 

On March 10, an agreement was reached between Turkey's state power company Elektrik Uretim (EUAS) and Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), a state-controlled utility, on technical studies for the construction of a nuclear power plant to be built in Sinop, on Turkish northern coast of Black Sea. The South Korean company had earlier said it was in talks with Turkey to sell APR1400 (Advanced Power Reactor 1400), pressurized water reactor. Turkey, again, plans to build two nuclear power plants, one in Sinop on the northern coast of Black Sea and the other in Mersin on the southern coast. Construction of nuclear infrastructure could start in the short-term, said South Korean Deputy Prime Minister Young Hak Kim, speaking at a Turkish-South Korean business conference in Istanbul.

Turkey has long been eager to build nuclear power plants. A Turkish-Russian consortium led by Russia's Atomstroyexport had been the only bidder in a 2008 tender to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant in Mersin. However, Turkey's state-run electricity wholesaler TETAS canceled the tender following a court decision in November 2009. (See Nuclear Monitor 698, 27 November 2009: "Another setback on Turkey's nuclear dream"). Turkey has cancelled four previous attempts to build a nuclear plant, beginning in the late 1960s, due to the high cost and environmental concerns.

Xinhua, 10 March 2010 / Reuters, 10 March 2010

RWE: U.K. hung parliament danger for new reactors.

RWE chief executive designate Volker Beckers has warned that a hung Westminster parliament following the forthcoming election could threaten the prospects of new reactors being built in the UK. He said a hung parliament might make it inconceivable that utility companies would invest the huge sums needed to build the reactors. The Liberal Democrats opposed any new reactors and they might be involved in a new government, he said.

A 'hung parliament' is one in which no one political party has an outright majority of seats. This situation is normal in many legislatures with proportional representation, or in legislatures with strong regional parties; in such legislatures the term 'hung parliament' is rarely used. However in nations in which single member districts are used to elect parliament, and there are weak regional parties, such as the United Kingdom, a hung parliament is a rarity, as in these circumstances one party will usually hold enough seats to form a majority. A hung parliament will force either a coalition government, a minority government or a dissolution of parliament.

N-Base briefing 645, 17 March 2010

Announcement: Anti Nuclear European Forum (ANEF) on June 24, in Linz, Austria.

ANEF was established 2009 as counter-event to ENEF (European Energy Forum) since ENEF failed to fulfill ENEF´s official objectives and was/is used one-sided as a propaganda instrument for the promotion of nuclear power instead. Within ANEF negative aspects of nuclear energy will be discussed on an international level. ANEF is organized by the Antinuclear Representative of Upper Austria in cooperation with “Antiatom Szene” and “Anti Atom Komitee”. The participation of international NGOs is very important because it needs a strong signal against the nuclear renaissance.

The organizers would like to warmly invite you to participate in ANEF. Please let us know as soon as possible if you, or someone else from your organization, is considering to participate in ANEF by sending an informal email to The detailed program will be available soon and will be send to you upon request. Accommodation will be arranged for you. Further information on ANEF is published on

Learn about ANEF-Resolution here: 

Pakistan: US-India deal forces it to keep making weapons material.

Pakistan cannot participate in global negotiations to halt the production of high-enriched uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons because the US-India nuclear cooperation agreement has tilted the regional strategic balance in India’s favour, a leading Pakistani nuclear diplomat said February 18. Zamir Akram, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva said that under the US-India deal on nuclear cooperation, India may now import uranium under IAEA safeguards for its civilian power reactors. Because of that, India can devote its domestic uranium resources to production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, he said.

Last year, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, NSG, representing 45 members of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, NPT, agreed to lift nuclear trade sanctions against India, a non-NPT party. That action permitted the US-India deal to enter into force. In coming months, the US-India deal will most likely cause friction at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Every five years, the NPT’s 189 parties hold such a review conference. The 2005 event was bbitter and sharp in language and tone and resulted in no consensus conclusion between developing nations and advanced nuclear countries. How to deal with Israel and Pakistan (non-NPT-parties) in the wake of the US-India deal now deeply divides non-proliferation and disarmament advocates.

Nucleonics Week, 25 February 2010

U.K.: Camp against nuclear rebuild.

From 23 to 26 April 2010 at the Sizewell nuclear power stations, Suffolk. The U.K. government is planning to go ahead with a new generation of nuclear power stations. Not only is this a totally daft idea with heavy consequences, but it also diverting attention and investment way from the real solutions to climate chaos. Come and join us for a weekend of protest, networking and skill sharing. The camp will be held very near the existing power stations and the weekend will include a tour of the proposed site for Sizewell C and D reactors and anything else you would like to add.

For many more actions on Chernobyl day visit:

Japanese islanders oppose nuke plant construction.

On Tuesday March 23 opponents of the construction of a nuclear power plant on an island in Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, forced Chugoku Electric Power Corporation to cancel an explanatory meeting. More than 100 residents of Iwaishima island refused to allow officials of the company to disembark after they arrived by boat at the harbor. Kaminoseki's jurisdiction includes several islands. The proposed construction will take place on the island Iwaishima.

The company has held 15 meetings in other areas under the Kaminoseki town jurisdiction after applying for construction approval in December. The Tuesday meeting was to be the first for Iwaishima island residents, many of whom are opposed to the plan first proposed in 1982. Chugoku Electric officials said they will try again.

The Asahi Shimbun, 24 March 2010


Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

The last 'significant' amount of highly enriched uranium (HEU) research reactor fuel in Turkey has now been returned to the USA for secure storage, the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has announced.

WISE Amsterdam - The return of the 5.4 kilograms of HEU fuel is part of the NNSA's Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), which the NNSA claims has now removed all significant amounts of HEU from 17 countries. According to NNSA, the removal of HEU eliminates potentially weapons-usable material from civilian sites, resulting in a permanent threat reduction.

The material was removed in cooperation with the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) and the Cekmece Nuclear Research and Training Center. TAEK took delivery of the French-made low-enriched fuel it needs to power its reactor in November 2009, and the HEU fuel was formally shipped on 14 December that year. The HEU fuel was packaged into an internationally licensed transport cask before being transported under armed convoy from the reactor site to a nearby port for onward shipment to the USA.

The amount of fuel needed to power a research reactor can be measured in terms of kilograms of uranium rather than the tonnes of low-enriched uranium fuel needed in a power reactor but it is higher in fissile uranium-235. This, in turn, makes it a potential nuclear proliferation risk - HEU fuel could theoretically be used to make a crude nuclear weapon. Since the late 1970s, international efforts have been under way to ensure that the world's research reactors would use fuel enriched to lower levels.

Most research reactors using HEU fuel were supplied by the USA and Russia. In 1978 the USA launched its Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) program, with the aim of converting reactors using HEU fuels to lower enrichment fuels where technically feasible or practical. Today, RETR comes under the auspices of the NNSA's GTRI, which works to remove Russian- and US-origin fresh and used HEU fuel to its country of origin.

Israeli HEU returned too
The NNSA announcement trumpeting the return of the Turkish HEU omitted to mention a simultaneous delivery of US-origin HEU fuel from Israel. As reported in Frank Munger's Atomic City Underground blog, the NNSA confirmed a report by Friends of the Earth's (FoE's) Tom Clements that a shipment of 102 used fuel assemblies from Israel had been returned to the USA under the GTRI. Munger noted that an NNSA spokesperson confirmed that the Israeli shipment arrived at Savannah River in January, "in conjunction with a US-origin fuel return from Turkey," but would give no further details. It would seem likely that the material came from the 5 kWt Israeli Research Reactor 1 (IRR-1), which was built under the Atoms for Peace program and has been operational since 1960. A total of 19 kg HEU reactor fuel was shipped from the US to Israel from 1960-1975. The majority of the material was fuel for the IRR-1. This pool-type reactor began operating in June 1960 and is used for on-line isotope seperation, training and activation analyses.

The Israeli Research Reactor-1 is located at the Soreq Nuclear Research Center (about 35 miles south of Tel Aviv) and was also purchased from the U.S. The center was built in the late 1950s. According to NTI Israel profile it is widely believed that the main function of Soreq research center in recent years has been to conduct nuclear weapon research and design.

Conversion of reactors to run on lower enriched fuel has necessitated the development of suitable fuels for the different specifications of reactors around the world, work which is still ongoing. According to NNSA estimates, some 78 research reactors have a defence-related mission or are of a unique design and are not convertible to LEU fuels. The NNSA aims to have all the other reactors using HEU fuels converted to LEU by 2018.

Source: World Nuclear News, 14 January 2010 / Appendix I, Agreements with foreign countries. Available at: / NTI Israel country profile:

Contact: WISE International

Another setback on Turkey's nuclear dream

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
WISE Amsterdam

Good news from Turkey. The Akkuyu nuclear power plant tender has been cancelled.
The first response: good news for the anti nuclear activists and the environmentalists all around the world. One of the sunniest, windiest countries of Europe, with lots of energy efficiency and geothermal potential is remain to be a nuclear free state as we wished and campaign for a long time. However, it is expected new tenders will be started by the pro-nuclear government and the fight is far from over.

The first signal of cancellation came with the offered high price by the only bidder which is a consortium of Russian Atomstroyexport, Inter Rao and their Turkish partner Park Teknik. The initial offered price was 21 cent per kWh to sell electricity but many experts thought that was a high price for a nuclear power plant. Then the consortium lowered the price to 15 cent per kWh during the private negotiations with the government but was not successful. Anti nuclear campaigners also complained that lowering the offered price after the official bid was not legitimate.

Later on Turkish State Council took a decision in favor of the TMMOB (Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects) appeal and decided to declare a motion of stay for the three articles of the nuclear tender regulation. That was the second signal and on November 20, TETAS (Turkish Electricity Trade and Contracting Corporation) announced the cancellation at the end of the dispute. They must have seen that the current bid was going no where but to a difficult court battle.

There was a single consortium in the current bid which offered a price of 21 cent per kWh then lowered it to 15 cent per kWh to sell electricity. The price was also found high in Turkey and got many criticisms.

It is not expected the current government will give up its nuclear dreams but it will have a difficult time to change the regulation and find  new bidders for the possible new tender. If they insist, there is also a price hurdle, the new offered price must be lower than 15 cent per kWh otherwise the government will have an explanation to the public.

On November 21, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz was quoted saying "The fact that the tender was scrapped does not mean that the process is scrapped. Our determination on nuclear power plants is persisting."

Sources close to the Energy Ministry say the ministry has already started plans to restart the tender for the plant in Mersin’s Akkuyu district, on the Mediterranean coast, and launch a second tender to build and operate a nuclear power plant in Sinop on the Black Sea in 2010. The government is said to guarantees 15 years of power purchases to encourage investment in the plant, and may have a stake of as much as 25 percent if it is necessary.

Turkey has cancelled four previous attempts to build a nuclear plant, with plans stretching back to the late 1950s, due to the high cost and environmental concerns.

The decision to cancel also had another dimension as regards international politics. The plant was part of a major push of deals Turkey had agreed with Russia earlier this year to increase cooperation on energy, such as Turkey’s permission for Russia’s South Stream natural gas pipeline to pass through its territorial waters and Russia’s promise to provide oil to Turkey’s Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline project.

Turkish Energy Minister Yildiz is expected to visit Russia in December for talks on this matter.

Sources: Sunday's Zaman, 22 November 2009; Nuclear Street, 24 November 2009; emails; Ozgur Gurbuz; Ria Novosti, 24 November 2009
Contact: Ozgur Gurbuz, email:, web:

Turkisch nuclear tender: a huge question mark!

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Korol Diker, Anti Nuclear Campaigner, Greenpeace Mediterranean

Turkey’s fourth nuclear tender continues, being shaken with scandal news and creating lots of question marks in minds. When the envelopes containing the bids had opened in September 2008 with five ‘thank you but no’ messages and just one bid, all the experts were pretty sure that another Turkish Nuclear Tender was going to be cancelled.

But the TETAS (Turkish Electricity Trading and Contracting Co.) and the Government insisted to continue with the procedures clarified within the Nuclear Tender Regulations. After the first step, second one was the appropriateness to the TAEK (Turkish Atom Energy Authority)’s criteria for the reactor design offered by the consortium. Russian Atomstroyexport offer was to build four VVER-1200’s with a total capacity of 4800 MW.

TAEK’s criteria was already missing some basic elements like information on the content of reactor core (i.e. estimate of maximum amount of radioisotopes, needed to estimate radiological impact of accident), amount of waste that will be produced, waste management system on site, waste management plan (long term), evacuation plans (in case of accident)…etc. but there were two major mistakes in the process; first one was related to the possible security deficiency of the chosen area. The ground license of Akkuyu (the area Government is planning to build the nuclear reactors) was approved 35 years ago and in that period a fault line was discovered underneath the area. Also one of the scientists from the committee that approved the license had admitted that the sea temperature wasn’t appropriate for a nuclear reactor. Secondly in its criteria TAEK had stated that they would only choose proven technologies but VVER-1200 is a prototype reactor (only 2 constructions have started in July 2008 at Russia).

Blinking the facts, TETAS continued to the third phase where the envelope containing the sales price (to TETAS not consumers) was going to be opened which was another unpleasant surprise for the Turkish electricity bureaucracy. The price bid was astronomical 21,6 US cents for 1 kwh; 7 times Turkey’s electricity production average. The consortium wanted to change their bid to 15,4 US cents, but in the nuclear tender regulations it was forbidden to make further negotiations after the envelopes were handed in.

The verbal negotiations on the price bid are taken to court by Greenpeace and 22 other NGO’s; giving the argument that public should know what sides are promising to each other behind closed doors. A month after environmental groups filed the lawsuit a journalist/researcher discovered that TETAS’s tender committee had written a negative report to the Atomstroyexport-Ciner consortium bid but was pressured by the Energy Ministry to change it. The consortium also reportedly offered 10% of the proceeds ‘like a bribe’ to TETAS for a positive answer.

We still don’t know if TETAS’s tender committee took revised bid to consideration in their report (not published yet) or what the decision of the Government is going to be but during Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s visit to Putin, sides continued negotiations on nuclear energy. It’s also being said in the media that Russia is putting the nuclear tender to the table as a precondition upon Turkey’s request to sell Russian natural gas to third countries and other energy issues. The tender probably will be concluded in July after TETAS hands in its report regarding the bid.

Nuclear energy isn’t the answer
When the previous Energy Minister announced that they were going to start a nuclear tender for Akkuyu his major arguments were to decrease energy costs and provide energy security. The bid itself disproved the first argument and when we look at the projections by the Energy Ministry, Turkey will be using twice as much coal and lignite, and the same amount of natural gas. Nuclear energy will only cover 4% of Turkey’s energy need.

In the past, Turkey was harmed quite a bit from the high fixed price purchase guaranteed contracts made for natural gas power generators and politicians seem to be repeating the same mistakes again.

On the other hand, being second in Europe in wind energy resources, lots of sunny days as a Mediterranean country, and huge biomass potential, Turkey has a chance to provide energy security from renewable energy sources in a much quicker and less expensive way.  

Source and Contact:  Korol Diker, Anti Nuclear Campaigner, Greenpeace Mediterranean. İstiklal Caddesi, Kallavi Sok. No:1 Kat:2, Beyoğlu / İstanbul, Turkey
Tel: +212-292 76 19

In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

German Nuclear Waste Site in Danger of collapsing.
The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) had learned late last year that pieces of the ceiling of the 750-meter deep chamber were unstable and could collapse on top of the 6,000 radioactive waste drums below. The information about the Asse nuclear waste site  (an old salt mine) was posted discreetly on the radiation office's Web site late Wednesday, January 14. The BfS said it could not rule out damage to the waste containers should the Asse site ceiling collapse, but gave its reassurances that it would reinforce the seals of the chamber with concrete to stop any radioactive dust or air escaping. The office said the measures were only a precaution and that there was no immediate danger posed by the site. It said the waste inside the chamber contained only low-levels of radioactivity. The site has not been used for fresh radioactive storage since 1978, with environmental groups regularly calling for waste there to be removed and stored in a safer location.

Deutsche Welle, 16 January 2009

Brazil to start enriching uranium at Resende. Industriás Nucleares do Brasil (INB) has been issued a temporary licence by the Brazilian Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN) to start enriching uranium on an industrial scale at its Resende plant.

INB has held an environmental licence to enrich uranium since November 2006, but the plant's operating permit, which is valid for one year, has been now been amended by the CNEN. Production of enriched uranium is expected to begin in February, with some 12 tons of enriched uranium expected to be produced by the end of 2009. The ultra-centrifugation enrichment technology used at the plant was developed by the Naval Technology Centre in Sao Paulo (CTMSP) and the Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research (IPEN). However, the technology is similar to Urenco's technology.

The Resende plant currently has two cascades of centrifuges. The first cascade commenced operation in 2006 and the second was expected to do so in 2008. Stage 1 - eventually to be four modules totalling 115,000 SWU per year and costing US$170 million - was officially opened in 2006. Each module consists of four or five cascades of 5000-6000 SWU per year. It is planned that a further eight cascades are installed by 2012, which will take the capacity to 200,000 SWU. By that time, INB is expected to be able to produce all the enriched uranium used in the Angra 1 reactor and 20% of that used in Angra 2. Those are the country's only operating power units at the moment, although plans to complete Angra 3 are advancing and many more reactors are expected in time.

Up until now, uranium used to fuel Brazil's nuclear power reactors has been sent as uranium concentrate to Cameco in Canada to be converted into uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas, which has then been sent to Urenco's enrichment plants in Europe. After enrichment, the gas has been returned to Brazil for INB to reconvert the UF6 gas to powder, which is then used to produce nuclear fuel pellets.

World Nuclear News, 14 January 2009

Australia/UK: Plutonium secretly dumped at sea?
Declassified UK Government files show that 500g of plutonium and about 20 kg of radioactive wastes were secretly removed from the 1950s bomb test site at Maralinga in Australia. The UK Government removed the wastes in 1978 and although there is no official record of what happened to it the suggestion in the files is that it was secretly dumped at sea.

N-base Briefing 596, 7 January 2009

Sellafield privatisation: Rushed liabilities deal
Commercial insurance companies refused to consider any policy regarding liabilities for an accident at Sellafield which might be bought in courts outside the UK which were not party to existing liability conventions. Energy minister Mike O'Brien told the House of Commons the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority approached the nuclear insurance market in 2007 when it was preparing the contract for a private company to run Sellafield. The Government and NDA eventually indemnified the private companies chosen to run Sellafield and the Drigg waste facility against any costs arising from an accident - even if it was shown to be the fault of the commercial company.

Meanwhile, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show the lengths ministers and civil servants took to prevent MPs from having the opportunity to discuss the decision to make the contract for running Sellafield more financially attractive to private companies. The Government agreed to take over responsibility for the costs of any accidents at Sellafield after the preferred bidders, Nuclear Management Partners, said it would not sign the contract unless it was indemnified against all costs. Ministers abandoned normal procedures to ensure that by the time MPs learned of the arrangements it would be too late to make any changes.

N-base Briefing 596 & 597, 7 & 14 January 2009

Turkey: AtomStroyExport revises bid.
A consortium led by Russia's AtomStroyExport submitted a revised bid for the tender to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant minutes after the contents of its initial bid were announced. At 21.16 cents per kWh, the initial bid submitted by the consortium is nearly triple the current Turkish average wholesale electricity price of 7.9 cents per kWh. Turkish energy minister Hilmi Guller told a press conference that AtomStroyExport had submitted a revised price "linked to world economic developments". Although it would be unorthodox for a bid to be revised once submitted in the tender process, AtomStroyExport's is the only bid on the table and Guller suggested that there would be room for bargaining. The revised bid would be opened and assessed by Turkish state electricity company TETAS who would assess it before passing it on to the country's cabinet for approval. No details of the revised bid have been released.

Turkish plans call for the country's first nuclear power plant to be operational by 2014, with proposals for 10-12 reactors by 2020 but would-be reactor builders appear to be treading carefully. Although six parties participated in the tendering process for the country's first nuclear reactor, AtomStroyExport's consortium was the only one actually to submit a bid.

World Nuclear news, 20 January 2009

Australia : no nukes to cut carbon emissions.
The Australian government  will not choose for nuclear power to help tackle climate change. The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering - representing engineers and scientists – urged to do so in a report, calling the government to spend A$6 billion on researching ways to slash the carbon emissions from electricity generation. The academy's report says no single technology will solve climate change, and takes a look at everything from nuclear power to clean coal and renewable energy.
Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson responded by saying the government was committed to meeting its greenhouse gas reduction targets without turning to nuclear power. "It is the government's view that nuclear power is not needed as part of Australia's energy mix given our country's abundance and diversity of low-cost renewable energy sources," he said. "The government has a clear policy of prohibiting the development of an Australian nuclear power industry." The report's author Dr John Burgess said he was not disappointed by the minister's comments on nuclear power. "I guess what we're slightly concerned about is that without nuclear energy the other technologies have to work," Dr Burgess said.

The statement is important as the world is starting to prepare for the crucial Climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, December this year. If nuclear power will not get the support of major players (ie. financial state aid, subsidies via post-Kyoto flexible mechanisms as CDM and the Carbon Trade schemes) it will be considered and received as a major knock-out to the nuclear industry.

Business Spectator, 16 January 2009

Russian economic crisis decreases nuclear safety.
The nuclear industry in Russia is being negatively affected by the countries economic crisis; and the situation is expected to worsen in 2009. This is according to a recently released annual report by the states nuclear regulatory body. Ongoing job cuts at nuclear facilities include the personnel directly responsible for safety control. Activists call on the Russian government to quickly adopt a plan to insure public safety and nuclear security. The deteriorating social and economic situation in Russia is likely to result in significant drop of nuclear safety' level at many nuclear facilities. Some nuclear facilities have already seen jobs cut because of reduced national income due to declining oil prices and the global recession.  It is possible that further cut jobs in Russians and may bring back the nuclear proliferation problems related to illegal trade of radioactive materials. These radioactive materials can be used for building a "dirty bomb". According to governmental report, obtained by Ecodefense, staff cuts have been underway since 2007.

According to the recently released annual report written by the Russian nuclear regulator, Rostekhnadzor,  there have been "job cuts at facilities responsible for nuclear-fuel cycle of personnel responsible for safety control and maintenance". The report also criticises nuclear facilities management for "not paying enough attention to ensuring nuclear safety". In a disturbing criticism of iteself, Rostekhnadzor reports that it doesn't have enough safety inspectors to do it's own job properly.

Press release Ecodefense, 23 December 2008