Turkey battles wildfire in area close to southern Akkuyu nuclear plant

The $20 billion plant is currently being built by Russia's Rosatom

A helicopter douses flames as a forest fire rages in the Kyrenia mountains in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Turkey, in June 2022. AFP
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A forest fire broke out on Wednesday morning in the southern port province of Mersin, close to where the Akkuyu nuclear power plant is currently under construction.

It is not known why the fire broke out in the forest area of​​ Buyukeceli, in the southern port province of Mersin, the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency said.

“Aircraft and ground crews affiliated with the Mersin Regional Directorate of Forestry were dispatched to the region,” according to Anadolu. “Five aircraft, three helicopters, 40 sprinklers and 300 personnel are responding to the fire.”

Gulnar mayor Alpaslan Unuvar told Anadolu efforts were under way to evacuate citizens close to the forest fire.

Due to the fire, 30 houses in the area were evacuated as a precaution while two high schools in the Gulnar area were prepared as shelters for evacuated citizens.

A Boeing Vertol 234 helicopter usually used in aerial firefighting in forest fires can be seen flying in circles close to the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. Photo via Flightradar24

A Boeing Vertol 234 helicopter usually used in aerial firefighting in forest fires and registered under the American Columbia Helicopters company was seen circling the forest area immediately opposite the Akkuyu nuclear power plant for more than two hours on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Flightradar24 flight tracker website.

The Akkuyu plant is a $20 billion nuclear power plant currently being built by Russia's Rosatom, which is building four reactors at the Mediterranean site. Ankara aims to start operating the first reactor at the 4,800-megawatt plant before presidential and parliamentary elections in 2023.

The plant is expected to produce up to 10 per cent of Turkey's electricity once all four reactors are in operation.

Updated: September 07, 2022, 1:01 PM
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