Minister: nuclear power plants will not pose risks despite quakes

In light of Sunday’s earthquake that struck eastern Turkey and caused 2,000 buildings to collapse, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız has brushed off fears that two nuclear power plants Turkey is planning to build pose risks to the country, which is prone to earthquakes as it sits on major fault lines.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız

“Turkey is taking every measure to prevent any risks [nuclear power plants may pose],” Yıldız was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency on Wednesday, as he explained that there was no need to be concerned as the nuclear power plants would be the strongest buildings in Turkey.

Turkey is planning to have two nuclear power plants built, one in the south and the other in the north, within the next 10 years, although the plans have sparked controversy among the Turkish public due to the apparent risks nuclear plants pose, particularly in the event of natural disasters, which are common given Turkey’s geographical position.

Turkey and Russia signed a deal for the construction of the first plant in a Mediterranean coastal town in 2010 at an expected cost of around $20 billion, Anatolia reported. Russia’s state-run energy company Rosatom is set to start the construction in the town of Akkuyu in 2013 and the generator is expected to provide electricity by 2018.

For the second plant, Turkey has been engaged in talks with Japanese officials to have the power plant built in the Black Sea coastal city of Sinop, but negotiations that started last year were disrupted when Japan suffered from a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in March which triggered a tsunami and destabilized a nuclear reactor in Fukushima.



27 October 2011, Thursday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL