Turkey kills bid it accepted for Russia to build nuclear power plant over price gouging

Publish date: November 22, 2009

Turkey will put a project to build the country's first nuclear power plant up for bid again after it cancelled a bid it already accepted from Russia's Atomstroieksport, Power Engineering International reported.

The Turkish Electricity Trading and Contracting Company (TETAŞ) cancelled a 2008 tender won by a consortium led by Atomstroieksport, Russia’s state monopoly on building reactors abroad, power producer Inter RAO UES, and Turkey’s Park Teknik to build four nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 4800 MW at the Mediterranean town of Akkuyu.

The tender had been under fire since it emerged that the consortium was the sole bidder and offered above-market prices for supplying electricity to the Turkish grid.

Turkey was reportedly unhappy with the high generation price offered by Atomstroieksport, which initially offered a rate of $0.21 per kW/hr generation, but then adjusted it downward to $0.153, said PEI.

Atomstroieksport officials contacted by Bellona Web would not comment on the reports of the Turkish pull out.

Sources close to the Energy Ministry say the ministry has already started plans to restart the tender for the plant in Mersin’s Akkuyu district, on the Mediterranean coast, and launch a second tender to build and operate a nuclear power plant in Sinop on the Black Sea in 2010, PEI reported.

Shreding the bid is not likely to enhance Russian state nuclear firm Rosatom’s image abroad as it strives to market itself as one of the big boys among France’s Areva, Germany’s Siemens, and America’s Westinghouse and General Electric , who currently have a lock on reactor building around the world.

Turkey will lose about $2bn from its decision to cancel the tender, the newspaper Hurriyet reported.

Critics say Akkuyu is close to a seismic fault line, pointing at a powerful earthquake that killed more than 140 people in the neighbouring province of Adana in 1998.