ICI Chairman Erdal Bahçıvan: “Nuclear Energy is a Window of Opportunity”

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The meeting on the Project to Establish National Nuclear Energy Supply Chain was hosted by Mehmet Karaca, rector of Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in the presence of 60 industrialists.

Erdal Bahçıvan, Chairman of the Board of Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ICI), took the floor in the meeting during which he underscored the importance of cooperation between universities and the industry to create new added value and richness. Bahçıvan emphasized the increasing difficulty to grab a larger share in the global economy and continued his remarks as follows:

“Even more trying times are awaiting countries with low levels of education, knowledge and R&D capacity, insufficient innovation and design power. It is therefore becoming more important to have a safe, sustainable, efficient and environmentally-conscious manufacturing structure with higher added value, based on advanced technology and that which reduces external dependence. When I observe the situation as an industrialist, I find that competition in our field now depends on technology and innovation. Therefore, we pay special attention to university-industry cooperation from the day we took office. An evidence of this emphasis is the ‘Industry Platform’ we created with five public and two foundation universities in Istanbul, in which Istanbul Technical University is an important stakeholder. I have always believed and will continue to believe that this platform will carry out successful activities with our seven distinguished universities as stakeholders. This meeting is not only a good example of university-industry cooperation but a justification of my belief in this undertaking.”

Bahçıvan also referred to the topic of nuclear energy stated in the “Action Plan to Reduce Dependence on Imports” included in the Priority Transformation Programs recently announced by the government in its entirety. His remarks were as follows: “We as the largest Chamber of Industry in our country, would like to state gladly our readiness to manufacture the large majority of products required for use in the nuclear power plants to be constructed in our country. This is a window of opportunity. With the experience gathered from this area, our industrialists will be able to have a say in foreign markets and tender processes as well.”

İTÜ Rektörü Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca
İTÜ Rektörü
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca

ITU Rector Professor Mehmet Karaca defined Istanbul Chamber of Industry and Istanbul Technical University as brands and pointed out to the meeting as the beginning of a communication network. Karaca added that university-industry cooperation was a constant topic of conversation and expressed his contentment with the realization of the idea with the meeting. His remarks were as follows, “I find it very important to join universities with the industry. Energy is a crucial subject for us. We have built a themed techno-city in this area, which manifests our sensitivity towards energy. It is vital for the country to have a say in the area of energy. We actually initiated activities in this area in 1960s but we somehow couldn’t maintain the efforts. I hope that a new chapter will be opened with this meeting.”

İTÜ Enerji Enstitüsü Müdürü Prof. Dr. Altuğ Şişman
İTÜ Enerji Enstitüsü Müdürü
Prof. Dr. Altuğ Şişman

Professor Altuğ Şişman, Director of ITU Energy Institute, underlined the importance of universities and industrialists coming together and gave information on nuclear energy projects in Turkey. He continued his remarks as follows: “Certain criteria should be met if the Turkish industry is to grab a share from the 16 billion dollar purchase of goods and services and if industrialists and universities are to act together in this process. Nuclear energy is a technology that involves the most cutting-edge technology in the world, and our industrialists should be aware of this. There are certain goals to achieve to secure business from tenders. Firstly, all industrialists should undergo a thorough examination and a selection process for nuclear energy production. Certain road maps should be in place on company levels that will render the said company capable of nuclear production. This should be immediately followed by the establishment of a nuclear qualification and training center, as well as an R&D center for nuclear technology and nuclear industry platform. Finally; it is only you, industrialists who can carry out the process of design, production, installation and management of the local, multipurpose nuclear research reactor. We cannot take part in this process in your absence. ITU is one of the best-equipped universities as the most active player with the biggest experience in the process. Our university has so far trained 500 persons.”

Nükleer Enerji Proje Uygulama Daiersi Başkanı Necati Yamaç
Enerji ve Tabii Kaynaklar Bakanlığı
Nükleer Enerji Proje
Uygulama Dairesi Başkanı
Necati Yamaç

Necati Yamaç, Head of Department of Nuclear Energy Project Implementation of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, stated that their consideration of nuclear power not only in terms of energy but from the perspective of economy, employment and growth. His remarks were as follows:

“There are many goals to attain for the local supply of nuclear energy. We do not pay attention to local manufacturing only, but our capacity for assemblage and testing as well. We have to achieve these goals. We will first determine our needs and the priority order of these needs. This stage will be followed with an action plan. Nuclear energy could be a supplier not only for conventional power plants but for our industry as well.”

Prof. Dr. Üner Çolak
İTÜ Enerji Enstitüsü Nükleer
Araştırmalar Anabilim Dalı
Yenilenebilir Enerji Anabilim Dalı
Başkanı Prof. Dr. Üner Çolak

Professor Üner Çolak, Head of the Renewable Energy Division of ITU Energy Institute Nuclear Research Department, explained the motives behind the project: “Our purpose is to establish a nuclear industry. This is quite a different industry which requires preparation and a road map. The most important issue at stake is how the industry will prepare itself. If not started as a whole, these products may be outsourced. But our goal is to make these purchases from Turkish industrialists who will create an added value. We are talking about 550 thousand pieces which are quite unrelated to safety technologies and we make partial purchases from local manufacturers. But there were hardly any manufacturers of safety products. Certification is of high importance and there are around eight countries that manufacture certified goods. Turkey has to be among these countries. Not a single company can survive alone in this sector. Companies should be a part of the supply chain with necessary qualifications, which are crucial. Qualification is actually important for every sector. Qualification in this area will bring major advantages to companies for every other area.”