A decision on the award of a consultancy contract for the country’s first nuclear power station to a venture led by Korea Atomic Research Institute (KAERI) has been referred to Energy & Natural Resources Minister Veysel Atasoy. Environmental objections have been lodged against the proposed 1,200-MW plant at Akkuyu near Silifke on the Mediterranean coast.

The selection of the venture was approved by the board of the client Turkish Electricity Generating and Transmission Corporation (TEAS) in the week ending 30 December. However, the board left a final decision on the award to the higher political authority vested in Atasoy.

The venture includes two other South Korean firms, Hidec and HEC, and the local Gamb, and was the low bidder in November at $350,000 (MEED 6.1.95, 18:11:94).

The consultants will advise on the type of reactor to be used. Design and construction tender procedure will take up to two years before construction starts. TEAS will then award a second consultancy for construction supervision.

The referral to Atasoy has followed one of the strongest protests of its kind in Turkey from the mayors of 24 southern towns against the project, which they claim will damage agriculture, industry and tourism. The delegation to Ankara on 21 December included 450 locals with protests outside the Environment Ministry. In November, around 40 protesters from the Greenpeace environmental group were arrested after demonstrating against the project.

After meeting the delegation, Environment Minister Riza Akcali pledged the plant would not be built if a proposed environmental study proved negative. The delegation also presented its case to Prime Minister Tansu Ciller.

The government wants to build up to three nuclear power stations by early next century, to fill a gap left by forecast conventional thermal and hydroelectric generation. Nuclear power has a history of false starts since the Akkuyu site was first issued with a construction permit in the early 1970s.