Turkey: Imminent Significant Changes To Turkish Nuclear Energy Legislation

In Turkey, the Law on Construction and Operation of Nuclear Power Plants and Sale of Energy Generated from those Plants1 ("Law No. 5710") governs nuclear energy. The main secondary legislation is the Regulation on the Principles and Procedures for Competition and Contracts within the Framework of Law No. 5710.2 As a result of the country's needs and investors' expectations, the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (the "MENR") recently prepared (i) a draft law on liabilities in the field of nuclear energy (the "Draft Nuclear Liability Law") governing the liability regime in the event of a nuclear incident and (ii) a draft law (the "Draft Nuclear Law") on the licensing mechanism of nuclear power plants and the establishment of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (the "NRA").

While the current legislation states that the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority ("TAEA") is the body authorized to grant licenses (i.e., site license, construction license and operation license) to nuclear power plants' operators, under the Draft Nuclear Law, the NRA will take over this duty. In addition, the Draft Nuclear Law increases the number of activities requiring a license, and also introduces the "permit" mechanism. If the Draft Nuclear Law enters into force as it is, individuals and legal entities will be obliged to obtain the relevant license from the NRA, in order to conduct the following activities:

  1. operating a nuclear power plant;
  2. operating a radioactive waste facility;
  3. conducting transportation activities of nuclear materials and radioactive wastes;
  4. performing duties determined by the NRA in nuclear power plants;
  5. establishing a radioactive waste facility; and
  6. conducting activities determined by the NRA regarding nuclear materials and radioactive wastes.

On the other hand, below is a list of notable activities which would require a permit, from the NRA:

  1. constructing a nuclear power plant or radioactive waste facility;
  2. commissioning a nuclear power plant or radioactive waste facility;
  3. de-commissioning nuclear power plants or radioactive waste facilities; and
  4. importing or exporting nuclear materials and transporting them in Turkey.

Currently, there are two pending nuclear power plant projects in Turkey. The first is the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant Project (the "Akkuyu NPP"), which will be built in the Mersin Province, on the Mediterranean coast. An intergovernmental agreement (IGA) was signed between Russia and Turkey on 12 May 2010 and was ratified by a Council of Ministers' Decree dated 6 October 2010. Construction of the Akkuyu NPP, which will have four power units of 1,200 MW each, is expected to start before 2016 and fully completed in 2023. The plant will have a life cycle of 60 years and is expected to generate approximately 35 GW of electricity annually.

The second nuclear power plant project is planned to be constructed in Sinop, on the Black Sea coast. In April 2013, Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and France's Areva SA were selected to build this power plant. The power plant's first unit is expected to commence operation by 2023. On 30 October 2013, a joint declaration was signed between Japan and Turkey. In addition, discussions regarding a memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Japan were concluded and the MoU was delivered to the Japanese Embassy for signature. It is expected that the IGA (signed in May 2013), the Host Government Agreement and the MoU will be submitted to the Turkish Parliament during this legislative year.

Investors ask themselves the following questions: Will it be liable for compensation of damages arising from a nuclear incident at any stage of construction or during the power plant's operation? Will it be worth investing in such a project, if the project company also operates the power plant? In most of the world, including Europe, the nuclear power industry has traditionally operated under specific liability regimes based on international conventions; not only national laws. Law No. 5710 does not include any liability provisions. Article 5(5) of Law No. 5710 directly refers to the 1960 Paris Convention, as amended by the Additional Protocol of 1964 and by the Additional Protocol of 1982 (the "Convention"), in connection with liability related matters. Turkey has ratified the Convention, and by virtue of Article 90 of the Constitution, the Convention bears the force of law under Turkish law.

The Convention principally addresses the liability of operators. According to paragraph 15 of its "Exposé des Motifs", the Convention channels all liability onto one person, namely the operator of the nuclear installation. Thus, the operator is exclusively liable for any nuclear incidents. Similarly, the Draft Nuclear states that during the course of activities that are allowed by the NRA, the license holder or the person who obtained the permit from the NRA will be responsible for adopting security measures. The difference between the Convention and the Draft Nuclear Law is that while the Convention uses the term "operator", the Draft Nuclear Law prefers the term "license holder or the person who obtained the permit from the NRA". Granting a license or a permit does not mean that the NRA shares the liability with the license holder. Thus, the NRA would not be held liable for the license holder entities' acts.

In line with Article 7(b) of the Convention, the operator's maximum liability in Turkey is 15 million SDR (the "Cap").3 The operator will be exclusively liable for third party claims arising from nuclear incidents on a nuclear installation, up to the Cap. All those other than the operator, such as builders or suppliers, associated with the construction or operation of nuclear installations, are exempt from liability.

It should be noted that the scope of the operator's liability covers "damage or loss [...] by a nuclear incident in such installation or nuclear substances coming from such installation". It follows that, for the Convention's provisions to become applicable, there must be a nuclear installation, as defined in Article 1(a)(ii) of the Convention, and being operated by an operator, as defined in Article 1(a)(vi).

The Draft Nuclear Liability Law provides an upper limit to the operator's liability. In addition, it provides the establishment of a nuclear damage determination commission, to determine the amount of damage exceeding the limits of the operator's liability. Further, the Draft Nuclear Liability Law states that operators and nuclear fuel carriers must provide a guarantee and insure the plant for possible damages.

1 Published in the Official Gazette dated 21 November 2007 and numbered 26707.

2 Published in the Official Gazette dated 19 March 2008 and numbered 26821.

3 Turkey has signed but not ratified the 2004 Additional Protocol to the Convention that provides a Euro 700 million as the minimum amount of liability. In addition, although a Contracting Party to the Convention may set a higher Cap under Article 7(b)(i) of the Convention, Turkey has not done so. Therefore, the default Cap of 15 million SDR applies in Turkey.

4 Revised text of the Exposé des Motifs of the Paris Convention, approved by the OECD Council on 16 November 1982, paragraph 2.

© Kolcuoğlu Demirkan Koçaklı Attorneys at Law, 2014

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.

Gökçe İldiri
Burak Eryiğit
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
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
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
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
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
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.


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.


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