The Nuclear Law,1 which provides general outlines
for the commissioning, operation and decommissioning of nuclear
power plants, was recently enacted after a long period of
debates. The Nuclear Law establishes the general principles and
leaves the implementation thereof to ancillary legislation
issued by the Turkish Atomic Energy Institution
("TAEK") or the Ministry of Energy and Natural
On 28 November 2007, TAEK organized a meeting which included
the participation of non-governmental organizations, and
introduced the "draft TAEK criteria" comprising
nuclear security, licensing, reactor types, power plant life
spans, technological know-how, fuel technology, domestic
participation, operating experience and electrical output
power. The definitive criteria were published on 19 December
Despite its exclusive title, the Nuclear Law impacts other
areas of the energy sector. It not only governs the setting-up,
operation, and sale of energy from nuclear power plants, but
also covers royal grants with respect to incentives regarding:
(i) technology development and training of nuclear power plant
employees; and (ii) free allocation of right to use or usufruct
rights of land under the ownership of the Treasury, the State
or any other public state entities, for plants operating with
domestic coal fuel through coal allocation (rodovans). The
Nuclear Law provides that the eligibility criteria for
companies bidding to establish and operate a nuclear power
plant are to be determined and announced by TAEK within one
month following the effective date of the new law. Thus, in
line with the schedule of the Nuclear Law, MENR has issued an
implementation regulation2 setting forth, inter
alia, tender conditions, election of suitable companies,
allocation of suitable venues for nuclear plant construction,
licensing fees, incentives regarding infrastructure, production
capacity and the quantity of energy to be purchased by the
Pursuant to the Nuclear Law, the Turkish Electricity Trade
and Contracting Company ("TETAS") is empowered to
organize the tender for the commissioning of nuclear power
plants. The goal of TETAŞ is to publish the tender
announcement for the commissioning of nuclear power plants
within one month following the publication of the respective
The operational framework of the Nuclear Law is based on the
Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of
Nuclear Energy on 29 July 1960, as well as other domestic and
international legislation. These protocols are applicable to
any accidents that occur during the transportation of
radioactive substances or wastes, or any accidents that occur
within the plant. In addition, a National Radioactive Waste
Account ("NRWA") and a Decommissioning Account
("DA") will be created. All companies licensed to
establish and operate a nuclear power plant will be required to
deposit the sum of USD 0.15/kWh to each of the NRWA and DA
accounts. The respective deposits will be used to cover the
costs of temporary and eventual storage areas for waste,
construction of suitable storage facilities, transportation of
waste from power plants to these storage facilities, as well as
the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. Operations in
relation to NRWAs and DAs will be exempted from any tax duty.
Moreover, one percent of the revenues of the respective
licensed companies will be allocated to research and
The Nuclear Law allows state economic enterprises to enter
into partnerships with nuclear power plant operating companies.
Such state economic enterprises will also be able to solely
establish and operate nuclear power plants.
The MENR will serve as the coordinating authority for the
implementation of the Nuclear Law whereby penalties and other
types of sanctions will be imposed by the Energy Market
On a separate note, the Nuclear Law provides a different
legal framework with respect to the power plants operating with
domestic coal fuel. Pursuant to the provisionary article of the
new legislation, these plants must be commissioned before the
end of 2014 in line with the allocation tender to be launched
by Elektrik Uretim A.S.
1. Law No. 5710 on the Commissioning and Operation of
Nuclear Power Plants and on Energy Sales as adopted by the
Turkish Parliament on 9 November 2007, and published in the
Official Gazette dated 21 November 2007, No. 26707.
2. The Regulation on Procedures and Principles
regarding the Tender within the scope of the Law on the
Commissioning and Operation of Nuclear Power Plants and on
Energy Sales, as published in the Official Gazette dated 19
March 2008 and numbered 26821.
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.
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