Turkey plans incentives for nuclear

25 January 2007

A draft law under discussion in Turkey could see electricity companies obliged to purchase nuclear electricity for up to 15 years.

The law, entitled Law Concerning the Construction and Operation of Nuclear Power Plants and the Sale of Energy Generated from Nuclear Power Plants, would see a centralised nuclear planning regime established in Turkey.

Since the 1960s, various governments have asserted the desirability of nuclear power to reduce oil imports and suggested potential sites in the Sinop and Akkuyu provinces. Now, under President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the first attempt to legislate the need for nuclear energy is underway.

Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said on 22 January that in order to incentivise private companies to construct a nuclear power plant, "We are providing guarantees for 15 years of purchases: this is an important advantage."

He confidently added: "After the law passes in the coming months we'll be able to make our choices."

The draft law would see the companies holding electricity distribution licences required to purchase a certain proportion of their supply from new nuclear power plants for a period of 15 years. Other conditions of the law seek to ensure that the cost of the nuclear electricity generated would be below the current average wholesale electricity price, currently around 5.8c/kWh.

Criteria for choosing a constructor and operator for a new plant would be chosen by the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK). Provisionally it is expected that the firm or consortium offering the lowest construction and operating cost on a per-kW basis averaged over the 15-year period would be chosen, and that prices offered in its bid would define the guaranteed price.

The Turkish Council of Ministers has the power to decide the siting and capacity of new nuclear projects, while the subsequent selection process will be carried out by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. TAEK would ensure nuclear safety as the nuclear regulator, although the draft law envisages the establishment of a new body to carry out that function in future.

On radioactive waste, Guler said: "We are establishing a fund that will automatically meet any needs."

Further information

OECD Nuclear Energy Agency: Nuclear power situation in Turkey

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