Russia signs new construction contract for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant

Russian nuclear power company Rosatom has awarded TSM Enerji the contract to undertake the remaining construction work for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, the company announced on Saturday.

Akkuyu Nükleer, a Rosatom subsidiary that is building four reactors at the Mediterranean coast site, said it signed the engineering, procurement and construction contract with TSM after terminating its agreement with Turkish company IC Içtaş.

Mersin-based TSM is owned by three Russian-based companies, according to Turkey’s commercial register.

“All ongoing subcontracted work will be transferred to TSM… Similar new contracts will be signed between TSM and the subcontractors,” Akkuyu Nükleer said in a statement, without saying why the IC Içtaş agreement was terminated. .

He said the contract with TSM would ensure that work would be completed by previously agreed dates and that workers would be paid on time.

IC Içtaş on Friday accused Rosatom of trying to “reduce the presence of Turkish companies” on the project, according to a statement quoted by Bloomberg News.

In Saturday’s statement, Akkuyu Nükleer CEO Anastasia Zoteeva said the number of Turkish companies and workers will continue to grow.

The Turkish government aims to start operating the first reactor of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) by mid-2023, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey.

The three remaining reactors should come into service by the end of 2026, at the rate of one per year to eventually have a total installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts (MW).

Once completed, the plant is expected to produce up to 10% of domestic electricity needs.

The factory in its current form is one of the largest construction sites in the world.

The plant, which will have an estimated lifespan of 60 years with the possibility of a 20-year extension, will produce carbon-free energy around the clock.

As a baseload power plant, it will play a leading role in reducing dependence on imported energy resources, especially natural gas.

The giant project is expected to employ around 15,000 people during its peak construction period and around 4,000 people during its operations.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has previously suggested that Turkey could work with Russia on building two more factories.

Akkuyu is the world’s first nuclear power plant project implemented under a build-own-operate model. Under the long-term contract, Rosatom has undertaken to design, build, maintain, operate and decommission the plant.

The company holds a 99.2% stake in the project, which is estimated to cost around $20 billion, marking the largest single-site investment in Turkey’s history.

Rosatom reportedly sent about $5 billion to Akkuyu Nükleer last week. Two more similar dollar transfers are expected within weeks, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, citing senior Turkish officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

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Sharon P. Juarez