The Turkish ambassador to Russia last week reaffirmed Ankara’s commitment to Rosatom's 4,800-MW Akkuyu nuclear power plant (NPP) development, ahead of a conciliatory meeting between the presidents of the two nations on August 9.
Ambassador Umit Yardim said Turkey was determined to implement the construction deal with Rosatom, which holds a Build Own and Operate and Transfer (BOOT) contract for four 1,200-MW AES-2006 reactors.
“From [Turkey’s] point of view the development of nuclear energy [is important], and we continue to move decisively towards the realisation of this project”, Yardim was quoted as saying by Kommersant on August 5.
The comments came days before Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reset ties which had been damaged when Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber in November 2015. Putin said trade sanctions on Turkey would be gradually phased out, while Erdogan promised that “the Moscow-Ankara friendship axis will be restored.”
Ankara has targeted fresh renewable and nuclear capacity investments to lessen its dependence on gas imports and maximise the use of domestic resources.
At the end of 2015, Turkey had a 7.4 GW installed generation capacity, of which 35.4% and 28.7% respectively was sourced from hydropower and natural gas.
The Akkuyu NPP is one of two nuclear deals signed by Turkey, which also has a 4,800-MW contract with a Japanese and French consortium for four Atmea-1 reactors on the Black Sea coast.
The BOOT contract signed with Rosatom in 2013 allows Ankara to minimise its financial exposure by handing Rosatom the responsibility for funding and operations at Akkuyu. In return, the contract lets Rosatom recoup its investment via a guaranteed electricity purchase agreement set at a predetermined average rate over 15 years, according to reports.
Rosatom originally formulated the BOO model strategy, which is rarely used at NPPs, so that it could sell nuclear power to developing countries more easily. But its balance sheet has since become strained by the impact of low oil prices and Western sanctions on the Russian economy. On April 27, media reports suggested that Rosatom would sell a 49% stake at Akkuyu to cover its debts, though Rosatom later dismissed the story as speculation.