Turkey opened for business this week issuing a "tender" for three new nuclear plants. The country's energy ministry said Turkey would guarantee purchase of electricity from the plants for the first 15 years of operation. In addition to balancing its own portfolio of fossil plants with the new nuclear build, Turkey plans to become a regional exporter of electricity. See prior coverage on this blog for background.
Bloomberg reports the state electricity company Tetas will accept offers until Sept. 24, the government's Official Gazette said. The 4,000 MWe power station will be built in Akkuyu near the Mediterranean port city of Mersin.
The government will issue a license for a second site on the Black Sea coast near Sinop early next year according to the Turkish Atomic Energy Institute. Turkey wants non-state companies to build three nuclear power plants by 2013.
The bid process was delayed for reasons having to do with the appropriately named Byzantine government processes of the Turkish government. One of the issues is whether foreign nationals can operate the plants. Given Turkey's few available nuclear engineers, that political debate probably was resolved in the face of reality. Maybe not? In any case they seem to have gotten the tender out the door at this point.
A lot of companies are interested in the plants which likely will function as merchants in terms of a business model. Turkish construction companies are casting a wide net for international partners with nuclear expertise. Firms in Korea and Japan have expressed interest as has General Electric from the U.S. and so have European utilities. Given the way the European Union has treated Turkey's request for membership, it will be interesting to see how the selection process turns out.
Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said that nuclear power is one of the best options Turkey has for increasing its energy security, and that nuclear power should supply 20 percent of the nation's needs within two decades.