News Energy Akkuyu: Cyprus in "high-risk" danger zone

Akkuyu: Cyprus in "high-risk" danger zone

Akkuyu, Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, is in the “high-risk zone” for Cyprus. 

Since the plant is very close to Cyprus geographically, the island’s authorities have a legal right on the operating licenses of the plant, the head of the Cyprus Institute, Costas Papanikolas told CNA. 

Asked by Sigmalive to comment on the issue, Vice-president of the European Green Party, Ska Keller, said she was against the creation of the power plant. 

On Tuesday 14 April, the first phase of construction on the four nuclear reactors began.  The reactors will have a strength of 1.200 MW.  The first phase of building is awaited to finish by 2020.  Akkuyu is northeast of Cyprus, at only a 180KM distance from the Karpas peninsula and less then 300KM away from Nicosia.

Papanikolas, head of the Cyprus Institute, told CNA that the institute has been working along with other top researchers, such as Max Planck in Germany, to publish studies on radioactive pollution that could happen from accidents at nuclear power plants, including Akkuyu.

A serious accident could be mean the evacuation of the entire island

“Studies have shown that a serious accident at Akkuyu, like in Fukushima, would most likely require an evacuation of Cyprus, since the island is the ‘high-risk’ zone,” Mr Papanikolas, a nuclear physicist and member of the European Academy of Scientists, told CNA.

Based on simulations conducted by the Institute, "the risk of surface concentration, deposition and human exposure in the Eastern Mediterranean region is relatively large because of the prevailing north and west winds that mainly affect Cyprus.”

Furthermore, the monthly concentration of the radioactive isotope Iodine-131 in the Turkish city of Mersin would have the same cost on the city as Nicosia.  The risk will fluctuate seasonally, with higher rates of radioactive winds in the winter months.

The study was published, after an invitation, in a special issue of the current scientific journal Energies1 (December 2014).

“The issues is very serious, and it has to take all our attention.  I believe we have a legal basis on the licensing and monitoring of the plant,” Papanikolas said.  He added, “The issue is clearly technical and scientific, therefore, it would be a mistake to bring this into the political sphere.”
Catastrophes don’t obey borders

Mr Papanikolas said that Cyprus needs to care about this issue, since it involves the country directly.  He said, “It is like we ourselves, are building one on Cypriot land.” 

“Explosions and disasters don’t obey borders.  Therefore, with a purely scientific reasoning we are directly interested,” Papanikolas said. He continued on, “This gives us a legal basis and is the responsibility of the country to ask for it and prove it, so that we can have direct and current information for reasons of security since we are really in the ‘high-risk’ danger zone.”

He finished the interview saying that the Cyprus Institute has many published and unpublished studies on the matter so that with these technical measures the country can gain the role it needs to deal with this issue.