Turkish authorities’ request for review of a key environmental report will likely cause further delay of construction of the first nuclear plant in the country, that will be built by Russian Rosatom
Turkey’s first nuclear power plant has hit further delays that will push back the start of production by almost a year after Turkish authorities requested resubmission of an environmental report, industry sources and experts said.
Russia’s Rosatom is building the first four nuclear reactors for energy-hungry Turkey, which has embarked on an ambitious nuclear program led by the government, to reduce its $60 billion annual energy import bill.
The CEO of Akkuyu NGS, the project company set up by Russia’s Rosatom, said in October that the project was going to be operational by mid-2020, a delay of about 18 months from the initial start-up date.
However now, even that schedule looks to be too optimistic, with energy officials and experts predicting a further delay of 10-12 months.
A major reason for the hold-up of the project is the lack of an eligible company to review and assess Rosatom’s reactor plans to ensure the design meets safety standards.
A tender by the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) to pick a firm to carry out this work has been cancelled at least three times after bidders failed to meet the pre-qualification criteria.
One energy official said regulatory changes have been made to facilitate TAEK’s tendering process and a new tender will be issued very soon. He did not give a specific time frame.
Turkey needs to add some 3,500 MW of installed power capacity annually to keep pace. Its second planned nuclear plant was awarded last May to a Japanese-French consortium.
Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and Itochu Corporation, with France’s GDF Suez, will build the 4,800 MW plant at an estimated cost of $22 billion in the Black Sea coastal city of Sinop.
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