Bids were invited on 17 December for construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant complex at Akkuyu on the southern Mediterranean coast (MEED 20:12:96). The closing date is 30 June 1997. Nuclear plants are a must if the country is to avoid an electricity supply crisis, said Energy & Natural Resources Minister Recai Kutan when announcing the tender invitatiion.

Turnkey bids have been invited for a complex costing $1,500 million-2,000 million. Previous reports have said a contract would be awarded by the end of 1997 for a construction start in 1998.

The first unit will come into operation in December 2005, with other units following in 2006, said Afif Demirkiran, general manager of the client – state Turkish Electricity Generation & Transmission Corporation (TEAS) – on 18 December.

Turkey needs nuclear energy to fill a generating shortfall from other power sources of about 7,000 million kWh a year by 2010, according to Energy Ministry projections. Nuclear plants are both cheap and safe, said Demirkiran.

However, the project is expected to meet stiff opposition from local and foreign environmental groups like Greenpeace, which have previously staged protests at Akkuyu and elsewhere in Turkey. The Akkuyu site has been considered since the mid-1970s, but the nuclear option was subseqently discredited politically by the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union. The plan was revived in 1993.

The tender invitation for the complex provides two options, each for configurations of generating units of a minimum 600 MW in size. The main offer is for a total capacity of 800 MW-1,400 MW, and the second optional offer is for a capacity of up to 2,800 MW. Bidders can choose between three reactor cooling systems: the pressurised water reactor (PWR); the boiling water reactor (BWR); and the pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR).

The main offer requires 100 per cent credit financing, but for the second offer, TEAS will be content with a letter of intent from governments or respected agencies pledging financing for the capacity above 1,400 MW.

Prospective bidders must obtain documents at a cost of TL 2,000 million (about $19,400) from TEAS within one month of the tender announcement. The bid guarantee will be 3 per cent of the tender price.

Demirkiran said companies expected to bid included Sweden’s ABB Atom, ABB Combustion Engineering and General Electric Company, both of the US; General Electric-Hitachi, Toshiba, and Mitsubishi Electric, all of Japan; Germany’s KWU-Siemens; France’s Framatome and Canada’s AECL. The latter has already formed a consortium with the UK’s Kvaerner John Brown and local contractors Gama, Guris and Bayindir, according to contracting sources.

Demirkiran said the complex will have an operational life of about 40 years, and will use cheaper imported uranium than that obtainable from domestic reserves totalling 9,000 tonnes. The complex’s radioactive waste will be stored in pools at Akkuyu for a 20-year period, which may be extended later to 40 years, Demirkiran added.