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Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, Turkey


The first nuclear power plant (NPP) of Turkey will be constructed in Akkuyu locality situated within Buyukeceli towns borders in Mersin Provinces Gulnar District. The license of the NPP was obtained 36 years ago. The construction work of the NPP has been commissioned to Rosatom, a Russian state-owned company, through a direct intergovernmental agreement and without a tender process. The NPP is not wanted by two-thirds of the Turkish population and 80% of the people living in Mersin. Especially after the Fukushima accident, the project leads to preoccupation due to high risks and the regions proximity to earthquake fault lines. Additionally, due to the high cost of nuclear energy, long construction time, fuel import dependence and the close association of nuclear proliferation, the opposition to nuclear energy is increasing. The existence of anti-nuclear movement since 1976 in Turkey that is especially strong in the last 20 years deepens the conflict and leads to intense opposition and protests throughout the country. The conflict is further incited because of the present governments determined and persistent attitude to construct the NPP. The latest earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan seem to have not changed the position of the Turkish government in this regard, as evidenced by the Turkish Prime Ministers comparison of the intensity of a nuclear disaster to that of a butane gas cylinder accident in the kitchen.

In fact, as a result of its modernist and growth-seeking orientation, the state in Turkey has historically opted for policies that aimed to boost industrial and economic growth, regardless of environmental costs they may bring about. Traditionally, there has been very little room in Turkey, if any, for discussion and deliberation at the public level regarding major industrial initiatives, and this has also been the case for plans on nuclear energy.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, Turkey
State or province:Mersin
Location of conflict:Gulnar / Buyukeceli
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Nuclear power plants
Specific commodities:Electricity

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The nuclear power plant consists of 4 reactors (4x1200 MW) with a total of 4800 installed power generating capacity.

The EIA has been conducted and there has been immediate objections from the civil society. There is an ongoing court case for cancelling the current EIA.

Level of Investment for the conflictive project20000000000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1976
Company names or state enterprises:Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) from Russian Federation
Akkuyu Nukleer Guc Sirketi (Akkuyu NGS) from Turkey - Operator, Constructor
Cengiz Holding from Turkey - Sub contractor for site preparation
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources,
Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation,
Turkish Atomic Energy Authority
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Anti-nuclear platforms, Eastern Mediterranean Environment Platform, Greens, Global Action Group, Greenpeace, The Turkish Foundation for Combatting Soil Erosion, for -Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA), Nature Association, and numerous environmental organizations and political parties.

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Trade Chambers
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Global warming, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Other Environmental impactsRadioactive pollution, problems related to disposing radioactive waste, risk of nuclear accident
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsPotential poisoning cases.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Other socio-economic impactsRisk of Income reduction
Sabotage Risk


Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Just one month after Fukushima, the Turkish government passed a decree to exclude nuclear power projects from environmental impact assessment, a move aimed at clearing barriers that may impede their implementation.
Proposal and development of alternatives:The project should be completely cancelled and the policy makers should reconsider the overall energy policy for the country and provide room for participation.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project was stopped several times as a result of activism in 1979, 1982 and 1992-2000 periods and was considered a successful opposition example until 2005. But after 2005 the government restarted the project in a determined fashion and albeit all the contestations it continues in its course. Therefore it is currently not possible to talk about a successful case.

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Turkey (the collaboration agreement on the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu ), a large number of nuclear safety legislation

Link to the agreement (in Turkish)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Alaeddin Bobat, Akkuyu Nukleer Santrali Uzerine Bir Anket ve Dusundurdukleri (in Turkish),

B. Akcay (2009): The Case of Nuclear Energy in Turkey: From Chernobyl to Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, Energy Sources, Part B: Economics, Planning, and Policy, 4:4, 347-355

Demirbas, A., (2001): Energy Facilities and Nuclear Power Program by 2020 in Turkey, Energy Sources, 23:5, 401-415

Ertor-Akyazi, P., Adaman, F., Ozkaynak, B., U. Zenginobuz (2012). Citizens Preferences on Nuclear and Renewable Energy Sources: Evidence from Turkey, Energy Policy, 47, 309-320.

Sendika (in Turkish):


NTVMSNBC website (in Turkish), -14 soruda nkleer santral NTVMSNBC


Yesil newspaper (in Turkish),

Bianet newswebsite (in Turkish),

Nuclear Opposition Platform (in Turkish):

Dunya Newspaper (in Turkish):

Journal of Turkish Weekly:

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Video of the initial design of Akkuyu nuclear power plant:

Other comments:Among the supporters of the project are institutions representing investment companies such as The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and associations formed by energy producers. It is further supported by groups formed by nuclear energy engineers. The Akkuyu project, if materialized, will be the first nuclear power plant on a states sovereign land owned and operated by another state.
Regarding the investment in the project, there is even the rumour that the total investments will go up to 25 Billion USD (see the news In Turkish )

Meta information

Contributor:Umit Sahin
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1015



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