Akkuyu nuclear power plant authorities in Turkey partner in project to save sea turtles 

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In yet another initiative guided by its policy of environment and biodiversity protection, the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom is partnering with Turkish authorities in a project to monitor and protect the loggerhead sea turtle, the green sea turtle and the Nile softshell sea turtle in the Göksu River Delta Conservation Area in Turkey.

A Rosatom release last week said its subsidiary Akkuyu Nuclear is partnering in the project to save these species of sea turtles being implemented by the General Directorate of Natural Heritage Protection under the Turkish Ministry of Environment, Urban Planning and Climate Change. 

Turkey’s first nuclear power plant (NPP) being built with Rosatom assistance at Akkuyu on the country’s Mediterranean coast will have four state-of-the-art Russian designed VVER-1200 reactors of 1,200 MW capacity each.  

Building and installation works are now being carried out simultaneously at the construction sites of all four Akkuyu nuclear power plant (NPP) power units, making it the world’s largest nuclear construction site with four units being built simultaneously.    

Rosatom said the project organised a traditional environmental clean-up event on the sea turtle nesting area at Kum Mahallesi beach near Tashuçu, where the builders of the nuclear power plant live. The campaign was also aimed at raising public awareness of sea turtle conservation issues. More than 100 employees of the Akkuyu NPP construction site, as well as researchers and volunteers took part in the event, the statement said. 

“After cleaning the beach, project coordinators held a lecture for volunteers on the nesting characteristics of sea turtles and the importance of a clean environment for their comfortable habitat. Organisers created a large sand sculpture of a turtle on the beach, which aroused great interest among locals and holidaymakers – the number of campaign volunteers increased”, the statement added.  

“The Göksu River Delta is a unique coastal habitat and its conservation is very important to maintain biodiversity in the region. Together with Akkuyu NPP staff and our project participants, we cleaned the beach in the sea turtle habitat”, said Mustafa Korkmaz, a Middle East Technical University hydrobiologist and coordinator of the Göksu River Delta Sea Turtle Nesting Site Protection Project: 

“We are delighted to be part of a great cause that brings scientists and volunteers together around the task of caring for and preserving the region’s natural heritage. Our staff members are particularly dedicated to investing their personal time and energy in keeping the beaches clean. Together we can preserve the beauty of nature and biodiversity for future generations”, Akkuyu Nuclear’s General Director Anastasia Zoteeva said in a statement.  

Rosatom also said the environmental actions to protect sea turtle habitats are intended to raise awareness about the problems faced by sea turtles among the local population, tourists, as well as foreign specialists coming to the region to work at the Akkuyu NPP site.