Turkey abandons nuclear bid

09 December 2009

Authorities have officially ended the latest effort to introduce nuclear power in Turkey. A notice on the Turkish Electricity Trading Company's website said the tender for new reactors had been cancelled.


It brings a disappointing end to a troubled process to deliver reactors up to 4800 MWe, wanted by Turkish authorities since the 1970s. A tender for the construction and operation of a new nuclear power plant, according to rules drawn up by the Turkish Atomic Energy Commission, ended in September 2008 with only one bid.


The Russian offer for four VVER reactors, put forward by AtomStroyExport in conjunction with Inter Rao and Park Teknik of Turkey, was far over the current price of electricity in Turkey and much work went into revisions to make the project feasible.


Several nuclear power projects have been proposed over the years in Turkey: In 1970 a feasibility study concerned a 300 MWe plant; in 1973 the electricity authority decided to build a 80 MWe demonstration plant but didn't; in 1976 the Akkuyu site on the Mediterranean coast near the port of Mersin was licensed for a nuclear plant. In 1980 an attempt to build several plants failed for lack of government financial guarantee.


In 1993 a nuclear plant was included in the country's investment program following a request for preliminary proposals in 1992 but revised tender specifications were not released until December 1996. Bids for a 2000 MWe plant at Akkuyu were received from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, Westinghouse & Mitsubishi as well as Framatome & Siemens. Following the final bid deadline in October 1997, the government delayed its decision no less than eight times between June 1998 and April 2000, when plans were abandoned due to economic circumstances.