A new contractor has been named to finish construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant. Russia’s state-owned energy giant Rosatom on July 30 said it had chosen TSM Enerji, a company owned by three Russian groups and incorporated in Turkey, as the project’s new engineering, procurement, and construction lead.
The Turkish government has said it wants to begin operating the first of four reactors at the 4,800-MW Akkuyu facility next year. “All works under current subcontracts will be transferred to TSM … similar new contracts will be signed between TSM and subcontractors,” Akkuyu Nuclear said in a statement on Saturday. The group did not say specifically why the previous EPC deal with IC Ictas, a Turkish company, had been ended.
IC Ictas on August 1 said it planned legal action against Rosatom’s move. Bloomberg News reported that IC Ictas said annulment of its contract was unlawful, and could result in a delay in the project. IC Ictas in a statement Monday said TSM Enerji, the new contractor, is a limited liability company that may not be able to complete the project. IC Ictas in its statement said appointing a new contractor creates a risk of “moving out of” nuclear inspection standards.
Rosatom said in a statement Monday said upcoming work at Akkuyu will need “specialized skills in nuclear construction to ensure quality work that meets construction and installation deadlines.”
IC Ictas told Bloomberg it would seek arbitration with Rosatom in a London, UK, court, in addition to pursuing legal action in Turkey.
$20 Billion Plant
The $20 billion Akkuyu plant will be Turkey’s first nuclear power facility. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has intimated that his country also may work with Russia on building a least two more nuclear power plants.
Akkuyu Nuclear said the new contract with TSM Enerji will ensure that the construction timeline remains intact. Rosatom began construction of Unit 1 at Akkuyu in 2018. Construction of Unit 2 began in 2020, with work on Unit 3 starting last year. Ground was broken earlier this summer for construction of the fourth reactor.
The Akkuyu plant, which will feature four VVER-1200 reactors—each with 1.2 GW of generation capacity— is sited on Turkey’s southern coast, in Mersin province. Rosatom said more than 25,000 workers are currently working on the plant’s construction.
Meral Aksener, chairwoman of the opposition Iyi Party in Turkey, in a message on Twitter said Rosatom’s change to Akkuyu’s EPC lead is designed to stall Turkey’s development of a nuclear energy program. “I urge the Energy Ministry to exercise its legal authorities, and if needed, take steps to nationalize the plant,” Aksener said on the social media platform.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).