Turkey 'at important point' in China nuclear plant talks

15 September 2023

Turkey's Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar has said the country is in talks with Russia about a second nuclear plant, and with China for a third one - and has also held out the ambition of adding 5 GW of small modular reactor (SMR) capacity to the country's energy system by 2050.

Bayraktar has said the country is aiming for 20 GW of nuclear energy by 2050 (Image: Turkey's Minister of Energy)

In an update on the state of talks about Turkey's plans for more new nuclear energy, to follow the Akkuyu nuclear power plant currently under construction, Bayraktar said: "We have reached a very important point in the nuclear power plant negotiations with China, we need to finalise this within the next few months."

He added: "Our negotiations with the Russians for the second nuclear power plant planned, in Sinop, are continuing. We are also in contact with South Korea. Turkey's priority in this regard is more technology transfer and localisation."

In the statement, which was posted on X, formerly Twitter, the minister said that discussions about SMRs continued, with the aim of adding 5 GW of capacity by 2050 - which would mean a total of at least 16 individual  SMRs.

According to Russia's Tass news agency, Bayraktar also told a news briefing that Rosatom "has huge experience acquired at Akkuyu NPP ... its partners in this project, its contractors have an advantage as they know how to construct a nuclear power station in Turkey".

"We are at the stage when we are in negotiations with all interested sides. Of course, we would like to get a higher bid in terms of higher localisation as we reached certain localisation in the Akkuyu project. We want to get higher localisation in the second and third projects," Tass reported him as adding.

Meanwhile at the existing nuclear power plant project at Akkuyu, concreting of the foundation has been completed in the turbine hall building of the second power unit. Rosatom said that "a modern vibration isolation system was used, an important part of which are spring blocks ... designed to separate the foundation slabs of the turbine hall building and the turbine unit, increase the level of seismic resistance, and also to minimise vibrations during the operation of the turbine unit".

The Akkuyu plant, in the southern Mersin province, is Turkey's first nuclear power plant. Rosatom is building four VVER-1200 reactors, under a so-called BOO (build-own-operate) model. Construction of the first unit began in 2018. The 4800 MWe plant is expected to meet about 10% of Turkey's electricity needs, with the aim that all four units will be operational by the end of 2028.

Earlier this year Bayraktar said the country wanted to speed up efforts on the planned second nuclear power plant, in Sinop, and a third plant in the Thrace region, in the country's northwest, and that he wanted the country to have installed nuclear capacity of 20 GW by the 2050s.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News