160 kilometers away from the city center of Mersin, olive, pomegranate, lemon orchards, around the creek can be walked by drawing a U shape at beautiful and small Büyükeceli village where the proposed Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant is just at 2 kilometer distance.Since 1976 when the site licence for Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) was granted two thirds of the population has migrated to other districts and cities untill today. However, following the beginning of the construction of the first reactor building of the Akkuyu Npp, the village’s population has increased five fold in the last four months, apparently due to subcontracted companies bringing in their workers.
The employees are sheltered in the housing complex under construction with 5-8 people, Russian personnel stay in the houses rented in Erdemli and Silifke which are almost at 1 hour distance from the plant. Transportation of Russian personnel is provided by 60 service vehicles during the day. We watch the newcomers getting off from the buses that stop almost every five minutes while we are drinking our tea and trying to hear each other under the noise of service vehicles, delivery trucks in the entrance of Buyukeceli village.
After the fire which resulted in the burning of 250 hectares forest land in 2015, the population was set to 1141 in the village. Despite low population the men of the village are still unemloyed and playing cards at the tea house all the day. Infact only 100 of the villagers are employed at the nuclear power plant site . Such situation is a dissappointment for those who dreamed about being employed at the Nuclear Power Plant. On the other hand villagers meet with the new culture brought by employees from other cities . The change in the structure of the population is also changing the daily life in the village. Due to the increasing population of workers of Akkuyu NPP construction and infrastructure related problems, social problems and environmental pollution has made life in the village difficult. As a result of this the villagers are concerned about the future of their village.
The pollution is important in the village is important since such situations may cause illnesses . The villagers are upset by the smell of sewage from the creek passing through the village. Workers in the construction of the power plant are housed in camps in two separate areas. One below the river and the other is above the river. We understand that this river stream is used as a sewage infrastructure and that the septic tank of both camps are left to flow into the Mediterranean Sea . Apparently Akkuyu NPP pollutes the Mediterranean Sea even before it is established!