Turkey advancing negotiations for two more nuclear plants

Written by
19 Mar 2024
Turkey advancing negotiations for two more nuclear plants

Speaking at a recent energy and climate forum in Istanbul, Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Alparslan Bayraktar, has commented on the country’s ambition to join the ”nuclear league.”

This follows the December 2023 granting of permission by Turkey’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NDK) to commission the first power unit at the country’s inaugural Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). The minister said that he expects the plant to be fully operational within the next four to five years with a dateline of 2028.

Negotiations with Russia, China and South Korea on the construction of two further nuclear power plants are also ongoing according to Takvim media, with a second plant pegged for Sinop province and third located in the northwestern Kirklareli province. Collectively, the three plants could deliver 20GWe of installed capacity by 2050, which would support government’s plans to triple renewable energy capacity by 2053.

Akkuyu NPP is expected to supply 10 per cent of Turkey’s total electricity consumption. Located in southern Mersin province, construction of the US$20 billion four-reactor plant by Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear energy company, under a build-own-operate (BOO) model, began in 2018 and will deliver eventual total installed capacity of 4,800MW.  

Economic sanctions against Russia remain a concern and were reportedly acknowledged by Bayraktar, with the government exploring resolution options.

Commenting in February, as reported by Russia’s TASS news agency, Rosatom CEO, Alexey Likhachev, indicated that the Sinop project could be greenlighted with the company ‘currently studying the details’.

As per data published by the World Nuclear Association, around 60 reactors are currently under construction, globally, with a further 110 in the pipeline. China dominates projects in Asia with 27 under construction and 41 planned. India has seven reactors in development with 12 in the pipeline; and South Korea has two at construction phase and a further two planned. 

Elsewhere, Egypt has four under construction while the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) recently announced the successful start-up of the unit four reactor at Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant. 

Currently, approximately 440 nuclear power reactors are operational across 32 countries, with combined capacity of around 390 GWe. World Nuclear Association reports that in 2022 the reactors collectively provided 2,545 TWh – or 10 per cent – of the world’s electricity. The pipeline of 110 power reactors could deliver total gross capacity of about 114 GWe to satisfy burgeoning electricity demand driven by economic and population growth in various global markets.

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