Turkey seeks to resolve Akkuyu constructors dispute

03 August 2022

Turkey's Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources says it has taken the "necessary initiatives to resolve the conflict between the parties" after the Rosatom subsidiary Akkuyu Nuclear was reported to have terminated the contract with Turkish firm IC Içtaş.

Completion of the basemat at Akkuyu unit 2 in 2020 (Image: JSC Akkuyu Nuclear)

At the weekend Reuters quoted Akkuyu Nuclear as saying: "All works under current subcontracts will be transferred to TSM… similar new contracts will be signed between TSM and subcontractors."

The reported statement did not include details on why the contract was terminated, and said that Russia's TSM Enerji would be responsible for ensuring the project was completed on time.

Rosatom is building four VVER-1200 reactors at Akkuyu, under a so-called BOO (build-own-operate) model. Construction of units 1-3 began in April 2018, April 2020 and March 2021, respectively. The first safety-related concrete was poured for the fourth unit on 21 July this year. The first unit is due to start operations in 2023, which is the centenary of the founding of the Turkish Republic.

According to Bloomberg, IC İçtaş responded on Monday by saying that the termination of the contract was against the law and announced that it would take this decision to the London Arbitration Court.

On Wednesday Turkey’s energy ministry released a statement noting that "it was publicised that there were conflicts between Akkuyu NPP and the contractor Titan 2-IC İçtaş consortium".

It added: "In this process, our ministry has taken the necessary initiatives to resolve the conflict between the parties. Our priority is to prevent any unjust treatment against all contractors and employees who have been serving at the construction site since the beginning of the project, and to put the project into use on time."

The ministry stressed in its statement the scale of the investment in the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, which will be able to supply about 10% of the country’s electricity needs.

It said the first reactor "will come into operation on the centennial of our Republic. Thousands of employees in the field are making a great effort for Turkey's biggest project to progress in accordance with the targets. Our main goal is to build the first reactor in accordance with the schedule of the project, with reference to international standards, with the inspection and approval of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority."

The statement added that "Akkuyu not only provides nuclear technology transfer to our country, but also provides an important accumulation for the formation of a domestic and national nuclear energy industry. In this context, 317 students have been sent to Russia for nuclear energy training so far to train our engineers who have the knowledge and experience to build and operate Turkey's future nuclear power plants. 263 of our engineers completed their training and started work in Akkuyu. Currently, 54 of our students continue their education in Russia."

It said that Turkish suppliers for the construction and operation of the nuclear power plant amounts to about USD6 billion.

The Akkuyu project in the southern Mersin province - Turkey's first nuclear power plant - is based on an intergovernmental agreement Russia and Turkey signed in 2010.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News