Japan ahead in race for Turkey’s 2nd nuke plant

Japan ahead in race for Turkey’s 2nd nuke plant

Japan ahead in race for Turkey’s 2nd nuke plant

Photo taken on April 26, 2013 shows the sections of a colossal arch-shaped structure that will cover the exploded reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. ‘We are about to finalize the agreement for construction of the second nuclear power plant,’ Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız says. AP photo

Japanese-French partnership is one step ahead of its Chinese rival in the race to build Turkey’s second nuclear power plant, as the official announcement of the winning bid is to be made later this week.

“The Japanese bid has the advantage, but there are still one or two issues that we need to work on together,” Energy Ministry sources told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. “We believe that we will find a common way when [Japanese Prime Minister] Shinzo Abe comes to Turkey [May 3].” Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, the world’s biggest builder of nuclear reactors, is expected to be chosen to build the plant, Reuters also reported yesterday, citing unnamed Turkish government sources.

Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said yesterday that Ankara would officially announce by the weekend who would construct the country’s second nuclear plant, a project located in the Black Sea province of Sinop and expected to cost around $22 billion.

“We are about to finalize the agreement for construction of the second nuclear power plant. China and Japan are the frontrunners,” Yıldız told reporters following his meeting with a group of members of the U.S. Congress in Ankara.

Abe is expected to arrive in Turkey late May 2 and will meet with his Turkish counterpart, Erdoğan, May 3. An agreement on the construction of the nuclear plant will be signed after the two prime ministers meet, Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported last week. There have been various reports in the Japanese media citing unnamed government sources in recent weeks claiming that Japanese firms would build the Sinop plant.

Energy Ministry sources confirmed that the remaining issues on the Japanese bid are offset issues, adding that they could easily be worked out during Abe’s visit.

Construction in 2017

The forerunning bid brings together Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Itochu with France’s GDF Suez to build the plant, which is planned to have a capacity of around 4,500-5,000 megawatts (MW). Four pressurized water nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of about 4.5 gigawatts are planned to be constructed. The Japanese-Franco consortium had proposed installing Areva’s Atmea reactors. These are 1,100 Mwe-capacity Atmea1, Generation III and pressurized water reactors (PWR) developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Areva in their Atmea joint venture. To date, this reactor has not been sold or built anywhere, but Areva hopes to sell it in Turkey, Jordan, Vietnam and Argentina. Apart from China and Japan, Turkey had also been in talks with companies from Canada and South Korea on the planned Sinop plant.

The construction of the plant in Sinop is to start in 2017. Turkey aims to have three nuclear plants operational by 2023. In 2010, the Russian state atomic energy corporation, Rosatom, was selected to build and operate four AES-2006 VVER reactors in the southern town of Akkuyu, which will power Turkey’s first nuclear plant. Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin this year.