Tekirdağ, Ankara in contention for third nuclear power plant

January 10, 2011, Monday/ 17:28:00/ İSMAİL ALTUNSOY

Ankara and the northwestern province of Tekirdağ are strong candidates to host Turkey’s third nuclear power plant, Energy and Natural Resources Ministry and Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) officials say.

Wishing to remain anonymous, those sources told Today’s Zaman that after two nuclear power plants are built in the southern province of Mersin and the northern province of Sinop, a third one is likely to be constructed either in Ankara or Tekirdağ by 2023. Turkey came to an agreement with Russia for the Mersin plant last year and signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan for the initiation of formal talks on the Sinop plant two weeks ago . As part of its economic targets for 2023, the centennial of the modern republic, Turkey hopes to end its dependence on foreign supplies in the field of energy and aims to have at least three nuclear power plants with a total installed capacity of 5,000 megawatts while also intensifying efforts in oil and natural gas exploration as well as in developing methods for renewable energy production around the country to that end.

According to the ministry and TAEK sources, other candidates to become the location of the planned third nuclear power plant are Tekirdağ’s neighboring province Kırklareli and Ankara’s neighboring provinces Konya and Aksaray. Yet, when one considers that a location near a large body of water -- to a sea if possible -- for the transportation of enormous nuclear reactor parts -- each of which weighs about 1,000 tons -- and also because those plants need excessive amounts of water -- some 300 tons per second -- to cool down, Tekirdağ seems to be a likelier location than the rest of the candidates, including Ankara, since the northwestern province borders the Sea of Marmara. However, one of the other key criteria is that a nuclear power plant should be located in a low-risk earthquake zone, which gives some comparative advantage to Ankara where, same sources say, the planned power plant would most likely be built near the Sarıyar Dam to meet its need for water. Tekirdağ’s coasts are in first and second level earthquake risk zones, whereas Saryar Dam area has a much more moderate earthquake risk.

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