Nuclear Energy Sector in Turkey from a Legal Perspective
1. History of the Nuclear Energy in Turkey
Turkey decided to facilitate nuclear power to meet the increase in energy demand and reduce its dependence on imported energy sources, which is nearly 70 percent of its total energy consumption consisting mostly of natural gas. Turkey plans to install three nuclear power plants by 2030, in Akkuyu (Southern Coast) in Sinop (Northern Coast) and İğneada (North-western Coast) which are expected to generate 15% of its electricity, according to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.
Though the story of nuclear energy in Turkey is not limited with these recent developments. Until now several nuclear power projects have been proposed: in 1970 first feasibility studies conducted along with the developments in the world. Akkuyu site was licensed in 1976 for a nuclear plant. Since then many attempts were made and a nuclear plant construction was on the agenda of the governments. Unfortunately, political inconsistency and the lack of the budget for such a big project caused postponements regularly.
Yet among these continuous attempts the most promising and concrete step has been the agreement signed with the Russia regarding the Akkuyu Plant. More specifically, as briefly mentioned above, in May 2010, Turkey and Russia signed an agreement for the construction and operation of the nuclear power plant at the Akkuyu site. Three years later, another agreement was signed with Japan to develop a second nuclear power plant project at the Sinop site located on the Black Sea. The most probable site for the 3rd plant is projected as İğneada site.
2. Legal Perspective
The nuclear energy law as a part of energy law has begun to emerge in Turkey during the last decade. In 2007, Law Concerning the Construction and Operation of Nuclear Power Plants (Law No.: 5710, dated 9/11/2007) entered into force in order to regulate the energy plan and policy, the procedures and principles for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants and the sale of energy generated from those plants.
In the following years, as the details of above-mentioned projects began to emerge; regulations about the nuclear energy sector have gained momentum. Along with the pre-existing legislation regarding to nuclear energy and nuclear researches; regulatory and supervisory rules to monitor the nuclear energy plants have also been issued regarding the different aspects of the nuclear energy; ranging from the transportation of nuclear waste to nuclear emergencies.
In this perspective of the emerging legislations and with the ambition of the successive governments, a regulatory institution need to be take into place through the years and The Turkish Atomic Energy Agency was founded under the above mentioned law to set the criteria for building and operating nuclear plants.
3. FUTURE PERSPECTIVES
In the light of planned activities regarding to the nuclear energy and the determination of the Turkish government to continue activities regarding to the nuclear energy; the role of the nuclear energy sector will gain further prominence in Turkey.
Consequently, nuclear energy law will also gain more importance along with the surging need for legal services for such newly introduced sector. In this context, especially tenders, contracts/sub-contracts, generation, transmission, distribution and supply processes, recruiting processes, as well as relationship with the official authorities are expected to fall in the scope of nuclear energy law.
 Unofficial translation of Law Concerning the Construction and Operation of Nuclear Power Plants (Law No.: 5710, dated 9/11/2007 is presented for your benefit.