Turkey: Nuclear Power And Turkey: An Overview Of Nuclear Legislation And Policy

Last Updated: 25 July 2011
Article by Kerem Gülay

1. Introduction

Turkey has been a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) since 1980 and a member state of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 1957. The establishment of a nuclear power plant (NPP) has been on the agenda of the Government since the mid 1950s. Although Turkey acceded to various international agreements concerning the use of nuclear energy, it emphasized its right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Currently there are no NPPs in Turkey with the exception of one research and training reactor (ÇNAEM) operated by the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) and one pulse reactor operated by Istanbul Technical University. Construction of a proton accelerator facility, the Saraykoy Nuclear Research and Training Center (SANAEM), under the auspices of TAEK was completed recently.1

2. Government Nuclear Power Policy

Lately, establishment of NPPs became a top governmental priority as evidenced by the ninth Development Plan (2007-2013) dated 1 July 2006, which holds that "in order to provide a good variety in the supply of electrical power, nuclear energy will be included in the electricity generation sources".2 The plan, among other things, envisages the need to draft detailed plans for nuclear waste storage and disposal and the incentivization of research and development for nuclear technology in this respect.3

To this end, Turkey concluded an international agreement with the Russian Federation paving the way for the construction of four WER1200 units nuclear power plant at Akkuyu nuclear site, consisting of 4800 MWe total capacity.4 It is expected that the construction of the NPP will begin in mid-2013 or in 2014 at the latest.5 Additionally, Turkey reported to the IAEA its intention to build another NPP at the Sinop nuclear site and explained that negotiations are underway between Turkish and South Korean authorities and companies for the construction of NNPs with 5,000 MWe total capacity.6 The government plans to increase the share of nuclear power to five percent of total electrical power production by 2020;7 and expects to have at least 10.000 MWe installed nuclear capacity by the year 2030.8

3. International Engagements

Apart from the NPT, Turkey is a state party to the following multilateral treaties, regulating various aspects of the peaceful use of nuclear power:9

Title

In Force

Status

Convention on the Cooperation in the Atomic Energy Field Between the NATO Members and Its Amendment

10 September 1956

Signature: 22 June 1955

Ratification: 22 June 1955

Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy

13 May 1961

Signature: 29 July 1960

Protocol to Amend the Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy of 29 July 1960

13 June 1967

Signature: 28 January 1964

Ratification 13 June 1967

Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the IAEA (P&I)

26 June 1978

Acceptance: 26 June 1978

Protocol to Amend the Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy of 29 July 1960, as Amended by the Additional Protocol of 28 January 1964

23 May 1986

Signature: 16 November 1982

Ratification: 23 May 1986

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)

8 February 1987

Signature: 23 August 1983

Date of Deposit: 27 February 1985

Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident (NOT)

3 February 1991

Signature: 26 September 1986

Ratification: 3 September 1990

Date of Deposit: 3 January 1991

Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency (ASSIST)

3 February 1991

Signature: 26 September 1986

Ratification: 3 September 1990

Date of Deposit: 3 January 1991

Convention on Nuclear Safety (NS)

24 October 1996

Signature: 20 September 1994

Ratification: 8 March 1995

Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention (JP)

26 June 2007

Signature: 21 September 1988

Ratification: 26 March 2007

Additionally, Turkey is also a party to two agreements with the IAEA concerning safeguards related to nuclear power.10 Furthermore, it is a party to several bilateral treaties relating to cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear power with Canada, Argentina, South Korea, Germany, France, U.S.A., Ukraine, Russia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Azerbaijan. The ratification process is ongoing for the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. It is also important, however, that Turkey is not a state party to many other treaties, such as the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, its Amendment Protocol and the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. Finally, there are also regional treaties for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear power, to which Turkey is not a state party.

4. Nuclear Law and Its Institutional Framework in Turkey

In order to promote private sector investments in nuclear power, the Law on the Construction and Operation of Nuclear Power Plants and Energy Sale, numbered 5710 and dated 9 November 2007 ("Nuclear Law"), the first nuclear power law of Turkey, was enacted. The current regulatory framework for nuclear power consists of two laws, namely the Nuclear Law and the Law on TAEK, numbered 2690 and dated 9 July 1982; and over fifty-five implementing regulations.11 The applicable law mainly covers the licensing process for nuclear facilities and protection measures against ionizing radiation. While matters such as licensing of nuclear facilities, sale of nuclear materials and equipment, radiation protection, radioactive waste management, nuclear security and transport are under the primary responsibility of TAEK, which is administratively attached to the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry are also competent authorities in various enforcement, authorization and regulation mechanisms.

The authority responsible for the enforcement of nuclear safety and security is TAEK. It is also the primary regulatory authority in terms of general regulations concerning all aspects of the peaceful use of nuclear power. TAEK is entitled to draft and issue regulations, guidelines and decrees and it undertakes regulatory activities including licensing and performing on-site inspections of nuclear facilities, nuclear materials and other radioactive materials. The Nuclear Safety Department (NGD) of TAEK is responsible for the evaluation of licensing applications of nuclear facilities. In this regard, it is important to note that the Bylaw on the Licensing of Nuclear Facilities12 regulates the application requirements and procedures of licensing activities for nuclear installations. Accordingly, the licensing of nuclear facilities is composed of three main stages; the Site License, the Construction License and the Operation License.13 Each stage is reviewed separately by the NGD, which is tasked with preparing a report to be submitted to its Vice President who is responsible to present it to the President of TAEK with his/her comments. Finally, the President of TAEK is responsible to submit these reports to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEK) meeting for adoption. An affirmative decision from AEK means the granting of a license.

The Nuclear Law aims to establish the legal basis for the operation of NPPs in accordance with the general energy plans and policies of Turkey.14 Procedures concerning the construction and the operation of NPPs and the sale of power generated from such plants are regulated by the Nuclear Law.15 It also describes the process for selecting the company which will construct and operate the NPP. The Nuclear Law specifies that the selection process will be initiated by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MENR). According to the Nuclear Law, the criteria, particularly those relating to nuclear safety and security, which companies have to meet in order to qualify for the construction and the operation of NPPs, is to be announced by TAEK. The Law authorizes the Council of Ministers to determine the capacity of the nuclear power plant to be constructed, the location, license fee, incentives related to infrastructural matters and the principles and procedures regarding the selection of the authorized company by means of a regulation drafted by MENR.16 There is no distinction as to the origin of the company to obtain the bid; any local or foreign company who fulfills the criteria to be determined by TAEK may qualify to participate in the selection process. The company who offers the lowest purchase guarantees shall be awarded the contract with Turkish Electricity Trading and Contracting Company (TETAS) for energy sale, up to a maximum of fifteen years.17 The Nuclear Law also provides for public partnerships and incentives for the operation of a nuclear power plant. The Council of Ministers is authorized to take measures in this regard.18 The MENR regulation, namely the Regulation Relating the Principles, Procedures, and Incentives for the Contracts and the Contest in Relation to the Law on the Construction and Operation of Nuclear Power Plants and Energy Sale (Implementing Regulation of the Nuclear Law) was published in the Official Gazette of 19 April 2008. Simultaneously, TAEK also issued the criteria which should be met by the investors.19

Following these legislative preparations, a nuclear tender took place on 24 September 2008 for the construction of a NPP at the Akkuyu Site. Only one consortium bid for the tender. After an assessment of technical documents provided by the consortium, TAEK announced on 19 December 2008 that the proposed NPP meets the TAEK criteria. Subsequently, 13th Chamber of the Council of State gave a stay of execution decision regarding certain provisions of the Implementing Regulation of the Nuclear Law on 16 September 2009 and accordingly the nuclear tender was cancelled by TETAS on 20 November 2009. However, an agreement was signed on 12 May 2010 between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey on cooperation in relation to the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant at Akkuyu. This agreement was approved by Turkish Parliament in July 2010 and published in the Official Gazette on 6 October 2010, numbered 27721.

3. Some Observations on Turkey's Nuclear Power Law and Policy

It is essential to note that Turkey is in the process of updating its existing nuclear legislation by taking into consideration the latest safety standards series issued by the IAEA.20 A draft law which would reorganize the existing nuclear regulatory infrastructure and three lower-level nuclear safety regulations are also being reviewed by the relevant authorities. Turkish domestic law, as enacted by the Parliament, the MENR and TAEK, is not the only applicable legal framework for investments concerning nuclear power generation in Turkey. Numerous international agreements, both multilateral and bilateral, are also applicable in this context. Moreover, "customary international law" as developed by states within the framework of the IAEA system is also applicable where an issue is not covered by Turkish domestic legislation and international treaty engagements. In this regard, the explicit reference of the Nuclear Law to the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy, its protocols and "other international law" should be highlighted.21 This would be of particular importance in determining responsibility for nuclear accidents and for the protection of international investments.

Footnotes

1.TAEK, 2010 Annual Report, p. 3.

2. Ninth Development Plan (2007-2013), published in the Official Gazette dated 1 July 2006, para. 412.

3. Ninth Development Plan (2007-2013), published in the Official Gazette dated 1 July 2006, para. 482.

4. Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Russian Federation on Cooperation in Relation to the Construction and Operation of a Nuclear Power Plant at the Akkuyu Site in the Republic of Turkey, 12 May 2010, entered into force by its publication in Official Gazette dated 21 July 2010 and numbered 27648.

5. Press statement of Mr. Alexander Superfin, chairman of Akkuyu Co., dated 22 April 2011, to Reuters, see http://in.mobile.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-56523120110422?irpc=984; Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey, Strategic Plan for 2010-2014, p.25.

6. Statement of 22 September, by Mr. Tomur Bayer, Ambassador, Head of the Turkish Delegation to IAEA 54th General Conference (20-24 September 2010), p. 1.

7. Electrical Power Market and Supply Safety Strategy Document dated 18 May 2009, p. 9.

8. Statement of 22 September, by Mr. Tomur Bayer, Ambassador, Head of the Turkish Delegation to IAEA 54th General Conference (20-24 September 2010), p. 1.

9. Turkey is also a state party to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) but since this one particularly prohibits testing of nuclear weapons and does not concern the generation of nuclear energy, operation of NPPs, nuclear safety standards etc. it is not listed and examined in this article.

10. Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and IAEA for Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Prot. Reg. No 1454), in force since 1 September 1981; and Protocol Additional to the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and IAEA for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Prot. Reg. No 1730) in force since 17 July 2001; Revised Supplementary Agreement Concerning the Provision of Technical Assistance by the IAEA (RSA), in force since 11 November 1980.

11. At the time of writing, TAEK reports that the regulatory framework for nuclear power consists of two bylaws; 21 directives; and 35 regulations.

12. Bylaw On the Licensing of Nuclear Facilities published in the Official Gazette dated 19 December 1983 and numbered 18256.

13. Art. 8 et seq. of Bylaw on the Licensing of Nuclear Facilities.

14. Art. 1 of the Nuclear Law.

15. Arts. 3, 4 and 5 of the Nuclear Law.

16. Art. 3(3) of the Nuclear Law.

17. Art. 3(5) of the Nuclear Law.

18. Arts. 6 and 7of the Nuclear Law.

19. Turkish Atomic Energy Authority Criteria which have to be Fulfilled by the Companies with the Intention of Establishing and Operating Nuclear Power Plants, 19.12.2007.

20. Statement of 22 September, by Mr. Tomur Bayer, Ambassador, Head of the Turkish Delegation to IAEA 54th General Conference (20-24 September 2010), p. 2.

21. Art. 5(5) of the Nuclear Law.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions