Albayrak: Critics should be directed to Armenia's nuclear plant

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 29.04.2016 20:19
Updated 29.04.2016 20:21

Speaking at a meeting in Parliament, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak responded to criticism of Turkey's recent nuclear power plant projects. Addressing nuclear energy opponents, Albayrak said that if they directed their protests toward the Metsamor Power Plant in Armenia, located some 10 kilometers away from the border, they would provide a greater service to Turkey. According to Albayrak, nuclear power is one of the world's most substantial and safest energy resources, and that it is an essential energy resource for developed and emerging countries around the world cannot be ignored.

Accordingly, he said it is out of the question for Turkey to give up and not benefit from this energy resource since the world keeps investing in nuclear energy resources. Albayrak said that they smile at the approaches of nuclear energy opponents, and advised them to direct their well-intentioned environmental concerns toward the Metsamor Power Plant in Armenia instead because it creates a really serious threat to the world. According to Albayrak, the over 40-year-old technology brings serious risks and problems. It is dangerous for Armenia and the whole world.

Commonly known as the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant, the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant is the only nuclear power plant in the South Caucasus, which is 36 kilometers west of Yerevan in Metsamor on land unsuited to agriculture. A 2011 National Geographic article says that it is one of the few aging Soviet-era nuclear power plants built without primary containment structures and lies on earthquake-prone land. The plant supplied approximately 40 percent of Armenia's electricity in 2015.

Turkey launched the construction of its first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu in the southern province of Mersin in April 2015 in order to provide greater energy self-sufficiency. The $20 billion project will have four units able to generate 1,200 megawatts of power each. The power plant, which is being built by Russia's state-run Rosatom atomic energy corporation, is expected to produce approximately 35 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year after its construction is completed, and its service life is expected to last 60 years. Rosatom has been experiencing tough financial issues since low oil prices and Western sanctions hit the Russian economy and the company announced this week that it will sell 49 percent of its Akkuyu shares. A second plant is planned to be built by a French-Japanese consortium in the northern Black Sea city of Sinop. Former Energy and Natural Resources Minister Ali Rıza Alaboyun announced in October 2015 that the İğneada district in the northwestern province of Kırklareli is where the country's third nuclear power plant will be built.

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