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Oct 6, 2021
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Putin hooked Erdogan on Akkuyu

Photo (left to right): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the square near the Palace of the President of the Republic of Turkey during the ceremony of launching the start of construction of the Akkuyu NPP via videoconference, 2018

In the photo (left to right): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the square near the palace of the President of the Republic of Turkey during the ceremony of launching the start of construction of the Akkuyu NPP via videoconference, 2018 (Photo: Mikhail Metzel / TASS)

Ankara invites Russia to think about building two more nuclear power plants in Turkey, in addition to the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, which is already under construction. During a meeting with the president Vladimir Putin in Sochi his Turkish colleague Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the issue of projects in Sinop and Igneada on the Black Sea coast.

The most developed site is near the city of Sinop, where preparatory work for the construction of a nuclear power plant and a nuclear technology center has been carried out since 2008. It was planned that the Japanese-French consortium will build four blocks of 4.6 GW, but the parties did not agree on the price, since during the negotiations it doubled – up to $ 44 billion.

The project in Igneada is not progressing either, an agreement on the beginning of exclusive negotiations on which with the Chinese SNPTC and the American Westinghouse was signed in 2014, and the launch of the station was planned in 2023.

At the same time, the first block of Akkuyu, the construction of which began in 2018, may be launched just in 2023.

“We are always open to discussing opportunities that expand our cooperation with Turkish partners,” said a representative of Rosatom.

At the same time, the state corporation notes that they can use the developments of the Akkuyu NPP in new projects, including the established channels of interaction with the regulatory bodies of Turkey.

The project of the first nuclear power plant in Turkey, worth about $ 22 billion, will consist of four VVER-1200 reactors, 1.2 GW each. This is the first nuclear power plant project in the world implemented according to the BOO (build-own-operate) model. For its implementation, the newspaper reminds, the state corporation received 51 billion rubles in 2015. from the budget, attracted another $ 700 million in loans from Sberbank and Sovcombank, and also invests its own funds. The plans to sell 49% of Akkuyu to Turkish investors have not yet been realized.

Photo: model of Akkuyu NPP in Mersin, Turkey.
Photo: model of Akkuyu NPP in Mersin, Turkey. (Photo: akkuyu.com)

Alexey Korenev, analyst at FG FINAM notes that the issues of energy supply and national energy security have suddenly become extraordinarily urgent this year.

– The situation with the gas shortage in Europe and the soaring prices for it exposed a number of problems. It turns out that a significant part of states do not have any backup channels for providing their economies with energy in case of any problems – be it political, technical, man-made etc.

Moreover, the “green” energy, which the Europeans so hoped for, also turned out to be extremely vulnerable. It turned out that wind, tidal and solar power plants are able to provide enough energy only in some “ideal” conditions. The slightest failure – and most of the countries of the Old World faced the unpleasant prospect of spending the winter in cold apartments.

Against this background, many states are concerned about providing their economies with reliable and stable energy sources. And if Russia in this regard is in an extremely advantageous position due to the large amount of natural hydrocarbons and excellent hydro resources, then some countries do not have such reserves.

So Turkey’s desire to build two more nuclear power plants is quite understandable. We produce fuel for nuclear power plants in sufficient volumes, we fulfill our contractual obligations impeccably, the quality of our plants is at a high level.

“SP”: – How economically profitable is Russia to invest in new Turkish nuclear power plants?

– For Russia, this idea is also extremely beneficial, especially if we receive payments for the work performed on time. After all, the issue is not limited only to the construction of a nuclear power plant – it is also required to constantly provide them with appropriate fuel, which we will also do. And this is a source of further foreign exchange earnings in the country.

In this light, I would like to hope that the agreements on timely payment will be fully complied with and taken into account already at the stage of negotiating and concluding contracts, and that political risks are minimized.

Previous conflicts with Turkey have more than once demonstrated the fact that the position of the country’s leadership is often difficult to predict and subject to temperamental and thoughtless decisions. I believe that this time appropriate guarantees will be provided to reduce the risks of non-fulfillment by the Turkish side of its obligations.

Research Fellow of the Turkey Sector at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary Turkey Amur Hajiyev offers to look at the Akkuyu project, which is developing quite successfully.

– Within its framework, there are various areas, including humanitarian, social business. This means that there is an increase. If not large investors, then at least middle managers and small businesses, an increase in suppliers, and in some part, the participants in this project.

The benefits for Russia, if we think in economic terms, must be admittedly not great, nevertheless there are certain agreements and guarantees for the supply of electricity, which will be produced by this nuclear power plant. It was signed by the Turkish operator for the supply of electricity to the population. The amount is fixed and suits both the Russian and Turkish sides. The sales will be constant and stable.

“SP”: – And from a political point of view?

– Here the situation for Russia is much more attractive, since we are talking about a de facto monopoly on the construction of a nuclear power plant and control over the development of Turkish nuclear energy. Russia is one of the leading countries in the nuclear power industry and enjoys special confidence from the IAEA. Political dividends bode well for Russia.

Considering that the atomic project, as representatives of Rosatom have repeatedly said, is a project forever – first construction, then several decades of operation, then withdrawal from it. That is, for about a hundred years, Russia will play a leading role in Turkish nuclear energy. This is an investment in the future, an investment in geopolitics.

“SP”: – What problems are possible during the construction of new nuclear power plants, if Russia agrees to this?

– Sinop is the Black Sea coast. If in the Mediterranean a plant is being built in the immediate vicinity of Cyprus, respectively, this causes discontent of its authorities and Greece, then within the framework of the Sinop nuclear power plant, there should be no discontent from neighboring states.

For Sinop, there are specific badges, proposals, a feasibility study.

“SP”: “And Igneada?”

– I have not seen the project for the construction of a nuclear power plant in this region. I think this is not a question for the near future.

JV: It’s no secret that Akkuyu is being built at Russian expense and Turkish investors are in no hurry to share this burden. Should we expect that this time Turkish or other investors will be ready to take part in projects?

– After the launch of the first Akkuyu power unit, I think they will go. Another thing is that they are very careful about their projects, but this is rather due to the fact that the nuclear industry for Turkey is a new direction. Even the Turkish legislation in the field of the nuclear industry was formed, in fact, thanks to Russian specialists, the formulations arose within the framework of the Akkuyu project.

The area of ​​responsibility, subsidiary responsibility is not yet clear, what is the share of responsibility of the state and private business, developer, operator in the case of investments. These issues should be clarified soon, after that, it seems to me, Turkish business will go. While there are risks that keep him from being fully involved in these projects with his own capital.

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