Nuclear energy troubles of Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria

The three neighboring countries of Russia, Bulgaria and Turkey have encountered different problems regarding the generating of nuclear energy and the building of nuclear facilities, according to a report from the Kuzey News Ageny.

Nuclear energy troubles of Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria

The three neighboring countries of Russia, Bulgaria and Turkey have encountered different problems regarding the generating of nuclear energy and the building of nuclear facilities, according to a report from the Kuzey News Ageny.

Having succeeded in its early nuclear test after the Second World War, Soviet Union launched the Obrinsk atomic power station, the world’s first nuclear facility on 27th June 1954. Famous scientists of that time such as Leypunski, Blohintsev and Krasin took part in projecting the first nuclear facility, the theoretical background for which was readied in Moscow following the hard work that began on January 1st 1951.

The power station, a pioneer source of experience which provided energy to Moscow as well as Obrinsk for 50 years, supplied electricity to 400 thousands households despite working below capacity. In the late 1960’s renovation work started in Obrinsk. Experts from State University of Moscow reported that the facility had no technical or other problems at all, but it stopped functioning due to financial restrictions in 2002.

BELENE NOT COMPLETED FOR 26 YEARS

Working to build second nuclear facility of its country, Bulgaria has yet to gain any concrete results. While the Bulgarian government started construction of Belene nuclear facility in 1987, it had to stop the project due to the political discussion on nuclear energy. Bulgaria held the first referendum in its history on January 27th 2013 to decide whether to build a nuclear energy station or not. Bulgarian voters went to polls to determine the future of Belene, and although 60,5 per cent of the voters approved construction of the nuclear site, the referendum which cost 15 million Euro was cancelled due to the low voter turnout. The debate on Belene dates back to in 1987 when the construction started. The project was stopped after the collapse of Soviet Union till the 2000’s when Russian companies started to show interest in the 10 billion dollar project. However, the Sofia administration temporarily suspended the nuclear facility for economic hardships stemming from the recent financial crisis in Europe. Close relations with Russia after the 2013 election victory of Plamen Vasilev Oresharski has brought the Belene Project under the spotlight again. As the debate continues, the public is generally against construction of any nuclear facility, specifically Belene which is located in an earthquake-prone region.

KOZLODUY nuclear station sends alarming messages

With the support of the Soviets, the Bulgarian government launched in 1970 the construction of the Kozluduy nuclear facility, located 200km far away from the capital Sofia which provided 46 per cent of electricity of the city. In 1991 the Bulgarian nuclear facility produced 3.760 megawatts with its 6 units functioning, but today only the 5th and 6th units are working for 2000 megawatts.

In its comprehensive inspection in 1991, the International Atomic Energy Agency found serious shortcomings in the first 4 units, along with the fact that the 400 staff who have worked since the beginning have been subjected to severe radiation. Following the pressure coming from the EU, 2 of the 4 units were closed in 2004 and the rest were stopped to electricity production in 2007 for the reason that they were not compatible with European security standards. Lastly, on April 14th 2013, a dramatic incident was prevented at the last minute when the hydrogen leak in the 5th unit in the turbo power plant was recognized.

Turkey indicates serious progress

Having been introduced with the term of a nuclear facility in 1968, Turkey’s engagement with nuclear energy has continued for more than 40 years. Ankara first demanded American and Spanish companies to carry out feasibility research for a facility capable of generating 400 megawatts from natural uranium. The project could not be realized due to the absence of necessary financial resources in 1975 at the time when Bülent Ecevit was prime minister. Later in 1982, late president Turgut Özal— who was prime minister at that time— initiated to accomplish the nuclear project but was also not able to meet the expectations.

The inter-governmental agreement between Russia and Turkey on building a nuclear facility in southern Turkey in Mersin-Akkuyu is considered as a concrete outcome of recent steps taken by the Turkish government. According to plans, when the necessary procedure for licensing will be completed in 2019, the first unit of the facility will start to generate electricity. Negotiations have been held with Canada, South Korea, Japan and China for the second nuclear station in Sinop.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe signed an agreement to build a four-unit nuclear facility having 4.480 megawatts of power in May. As the debates have been going on regarding the projected third nuclear site, Minister of Energy Taner Yıldız announced that his ministry has not determined the appropriate location for the facility. Erdoğan also mentioned the possibility that Turkey may be able to build the nuclear site on its own.

Source: Kuzey News Agency

Last Mod: 08 Temmuz 2013, 15:44
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