Safety measures underway for Turkey's first nuclear power plant

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

As Turkey prepares to build its first nuclear power plant, the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency, or TAEK, has introduced new safety measures to protect people and the environment from nuclear radiation.

Besides safety measures against radiation, accidents and their harmful impact, close supervision and sanctions fall within the scope of the draft, titled the 'Nuclear Safety Draft Regulation'. The new law would revoke licenses of companies that fail to comply with appropriate safety measures.

All those involved in establishing a nuclear power plant, from constructing nuclear facilities to running operations, must first inform TAEK and obtain permission, the draft said. The authority must also be informed of any closures, re-openings and amendments to policy.

TAEK will give nontransferable licenses to nuclear facilities and reserve the right to cancel the license if the companies fall short of their safety obligations. The draft, submitted to Council of Ministers, will come into force after it is published in the Official Gazette.

'Defense in depth' strategy
The draft regulation will apply a 'defense in depth' strategy in all its activities related to safety. Authorities plan to use different equipment and procedures to prevent accidents and improve physical barriers erected to protect people and the environment from radioactive materials.

The design of the structure, and the system and components of the nuclear facility will adopt certified industry standards, as will ongoing procedures such as tests, maintenance and repair.

Human error will be accounted for in all activities that may affect safety in nuclear facilities. Systems will be established to spot, prevent, fix or compensate for mistakes, the draft said.

In accordance with the regulation, radioactive wastes will also be controlled. The draft stipulated that waste cannot exceed a facility's capacity to deal with radioactive material. Before they can begin the construction, design and operation of nuclear facilities begins companies will have to guarantee TAEK that safety measures were carried out by making analyses and preparing documents.

TAEK will be able to limit, suspend or cancel the authorities of the ones who disregard the principles of the regulation, exceed their authority or violate the related regulations.

A new bill on nuclear to guarantee peace
TAEK also prepared a draft bill on nuclear energy and submitted it to the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry. The bill includes regulations regarding the use of nuclear energy and ion radiation for peaceful goals.

The draft said the regulation of the industry would be conducted by a new nuclear energy regulation board, to be established under the Prime Ministry. The board will have executive and financial autonomy and be responsible for nuclear and radioactive safety, and the study of the construction and operation of nuclear facilities and their removal from operation. It will also supervise radiation use, handling of waste nuclear materials, exports, imports, quality inspection and the training of staff.

Meanwhile, authorities stressed the deadline for proposals for Turkey's first nuclear power plant, which was set as Sept. 24, would remain and a time extension would not be granted. The first power plant will be established in the Akkuyu district of Mersin.

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