Critics claim energy independence won’t be achieved with Russian reactors
Turkish news media reports yet another slide off into the ditch for the country’s troubled nuclear energy program. After all but one of 13 potential bidders walked away from the byzantine project, the only company bidding, the Russian-Turkish JSC Atomstroyexport-JSC Inter Rao Ues-Park Teknik joint venture, offered a price of 21.16 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Current electricity prices in the country vary between 4 cents and 14 cents per kWh.
The Turkish newspaper Todays Zaman reports the price offer came as a disappointment to many as the cost of electricity generated was reported as being nearly four times higher than the current price of electricity.
Speaking by phone with Today’s Zaman, Professor Ahmet Bayulken, general manager of Istanbul Technical University’s nuclear reactor, described the prices as “really too high” and noted that electricity prices should be in the range of 5-7 cents per kWh. He said given Turkey’s market conditions, prices could conceivably be in the ballpark of 9-10 cents per kWh -- “but not higher,” he added.
Another energy expert agreed with this analysis. "Turkey cannot afford to go on without nuclear energy," said Önder Karaduman, chairman of the Electricity Producers Association.
"Turkey is not rich enough to produce more than 50 percent of its electricity from natural gas, he said. "The electricity price in Turkey is hovering around 12 to 13 cents per kilowatt hour, any offer below this figure would considerably lower the average energy costs... I believe a price of around 8 cents would be quite suitable," he added.
However, according to Reuters, Turkey's tender to build its first nuclear power station is continuing and will not be cancelled, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler (right) said despite only one bid, from a Russian-Turkish consortium.
This view was contradicted by late press reports. The tender for Turkey's first nuclear tender is likely to be cancelled due to the high price offer and a shift in the location of the plant from the south of the country to the northern Black Sea region, Vatan daily reported on Wednesday. Turkey's state-run power company, TETAS will submit a "negative" report for the price bid in the nuclear tender and submit it to cabinet for approval, the daily said.
The Russian Turkish consortium bid that it will build four units of the Russian VVER-1200 PWR type reactors. The problem, says Haluk Direskeneli, an energy analyst, this reactor will most likely use Russian nuclear fuel. After watching the gas crisis unfold in the Ukraine and Europe earlier this month, he says Russia could prove to be an unreliable supplier of nuclear fuel. That would undermine the country’s desire to develop independent energy infrastructure.
Prior coverage on this blog
- Turkey’s nuclear program in turmoil
- GE Hitachi to miss Turkey bid deadline
- Turkey plans 5 GWe $10B nuclear build
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