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[cdn-nucl-l] Update on Turkish reactor bidding process
ANALYSIS-Turkey set for first nuke power plant
By Ercan Ersoy
ANKARA, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Energy-hungry Turkey appears eager to finalise a
tender by the end of this month to build its controversial first nuclear
power plant, ending a three-decade-long saga fraught by protests and
``We have decided to intensify our efforts to conclude work on the nuclear
power plant tender,'' Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit told reporters on
Thursday night after a six-hour meeting of government coalition leaders.
``The government has made a decision to go ahead with the nuclear power
plant,'' he said.
Turkey, which cancelled two previous tenders in the past three decades,
collected bids for the plant, to be located near the Mediterranean coastal
village of Akkuyu, from three international consortia in 1997.
The companies agreed to extend their bids to December 31, 1999, following a
request by the government, which failed to finalise the tender assessment by
October 15, 1999, the original deadline put forward by the consortia.
Energy Minister Cumhur Ersumer has said if the government failed to award
the tender again, ``this will give the world the message that Turkey will
never be able to build any nuclear power plant in the future.''
Turkish state electricity producer TEAS, which will be operator, said
technical assessment of the project was completed and it was now up to the
government to move.
The project has been severely criticised by local residents,
environmentalists, the influential chamber of electrical engineers and some
The Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in Ukraine in 1986 encouraged such
groups to anti-nuclear campaign.
A strong earthquake that killed about 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey
in August also raised questions about the location of the plant, which some
experts said lay near a seismic fault line.
Ethem Torunoglu, head of the Chamber of Environmental Engineers, said Turkey
was criss-crossed by active fault lines and there were legal barriers to
building the plant.
``A fault line is passing some 25 km (16-mile) to the east of the plant
site. Also, the project does not have a key document, called the
environmental assessment report, for it to go ahead,'' he told Reuters
But a housing ministry map suggested the site was in one of the safest
locations in terms of exposure to earthquakes.
Thursday's meeting was prompted by a series of gas and power cuts in
Istanbul, Ankara and Bursa this week after gas pressure in the pipeline from
Melda Keskin, head of Greenpeace's Mediterranean Energy Campaign, told a
news conference the timing of the power cuts was significant. ``They are
trying to scare people off by using darkness and cold weather in order to
conclude the nuclear tender,'' she said.
Turkey, which will consume 117.3 billion kiloWatt-hours (kWh) of power this
year against 115.3 billion kWh generated, imports electricity from Iran,
Georgia and Bulgaria to make up for the shortage.
BIG NAMES AMONG BIDDERS
The project is expected to cost up to $5 billion and is planned for
completion in 2007. The bidding consortium is led by U.S. White Westinghouse
(NYSE:WAB - news), Canada's AECL and French-German NPI (Nuclear Power
The best bidder in terms of per unit costs energy generation is NPI, which
includes Siemens Framatome, Alstom Campenon Bernard, Hochtief , Turkey's
Garanti Koza, Simko, STFA and Tekfen.
Its first bid is for a 1,482-MegaWatt (MW) plant that will generate power
for 2.56 cents per kWh and cost $2.393 billion. The second alternative is a
2,964-MW, $4.48 billion plant that will produce power at 2.28 cents per kWh.
Canada's AECL has Anglo-Norwegian Kvaerner John Brown , Hitachi , Turkey's
Guris, Gama and Bayindir as partners. The consortium proposed a 1,339 MW,
$2.572 billion plant and pledged a unit cost of 3.3 cents/kWh.