New Regulation Issued by Nuclear Regulatory Authority on Administrative Sanctions
Integration of nuclear energy into the Turkish energy supply is of vital importance in terms of reducing energy import dependency of Turkey and decreasing negative environmental effects of energy production.
Although there are no nuclear power plants currently in operation in Turkey yet, it is announced that the first unit of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant which would be the Turkey’s first nuclear power plant has successfully passed a pressure test that is a milestone for completion of the first unit. Besides, within the context of the Sinop Nuclear Power Plant Project, environmental impact assessment report has been approved and excavation works for the power plant are expected to commence this year. Akkuyu and Sinop nuclear power plants are expected to meet at least 10% of Turkey's electricity needs. In addition to these two plants, site selection studies for a third nuclear power plant are still being conducted. While no formal statement has been made for its location yet, some officials have pointed to İğneada in the city of Kırklarleli as a potential location.
Until mid-2018, any company intending to build a nuclear power plant was subject to the oversight of the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (“TAEK”), a Turkish government entity founded in 1956 and re-chartered in 1982. Afterwards, a new independent regulatory authority named Nuclear Regulatory Authority (“NRA” or the “Authority”) was established on 9 July 2018 and replaced this role of TAEK. NRA has the authority to control nuclear facilities and grant various licenses to companies intending to operate in the nuclear energy sector.
As a recent development in the sector, Nuclear Regulatory Authority Administrative Sanctions Regulation (“Regulation”) was published by NRA in the Official Gazette dated 18 February 2021 numbered 31299. The Regulation sets out the administrative sanctions to be applied by the Authority, as well as the procedures and principles regarding their implementation.
As per the Regulation, administrative sanctions will be imposed in case of a “violation” as defined thereunder. Situations that may create a violation listed are under Article 5 of the Regulation as follows:
Unauthorized performance of activities requiring authorization.
Failure to notify the changes in authorization conditions that will affect the authorization.
Submission of false documents or misleading information to the Authority.
Situations where the provisions of the legislation, authorization conditions, decisions and instructions of the Authority are violated or exceeding of limits regarding those.
Administrative sanctions that can be imposed by NRA are (i) administrative fines, (ii) limitation of authorization, (iii) suspension of authorization and (iv) cancellation of authorization. Administrative sanctions other than the administrative fines can be applied in addition to administrative fines.
Within the scope of the Regulation, certain facts like the extent of the damage incurred, seriousness of the risk caused by the violation, as to whether the violation is deliberate or not, will be taken into consideration while determining the administrative sanctions to be applied. Before deciding to apply an administrative sanction, NRA will prepare a preliminary report and persons alleged to be in violation will be requested to give a plea. After that, the president of NRA will prepare a final report and the board will make its decision on the administrative sanction in accordance with the final report.
Other than the above, the Regulation also sets forth the details, limits, procedures and principles of each type of administrative sanction and their effects.