Turkey in talks with China for further nuclear construction

Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar said Turkey is closing in on an agreement with China for construction of a new nuclear power plant in an effort to lower oil and gas imports. He said talks can be finalized “in a few months’ time” after Chinese officials recently visited the likely site of the future plant, near the borders with Bulgaria and Greece.

Bayraktar told reporters in a press conference on Thursday “We’ve been in talks with a Chinese company for a very long time,” adding that any differences aren’t major obstacles. “So we will be able to fill the gaps and strike a deal soon with China for the nuclear power program” he added as reported by Bloomberg.

Under the deal, China would build Turkey’s third nuclear power plant. The first is under construction by Russia on the Mediterranean coast, the second, on the Black Sea coast which is still in the planning phase. Bayraktar said, Russia’s Rosatom as well as South Korean companies are both interested in building the second plant, while Turkey is seeking more local participation.

Bayraktar says Turkey’s ultimate objective is to raise electricity output capacity from nuclear power to 20 gigawatts, nearly four times of what the Akkuyu plant can generate when it’s fully operational in a few years. The minister said to reach that target, Turkey will probably need an additional capacity of 5GW from small modular reactors, known as SMRs.

Bayraktar concluded that “Turkey needs nuclear for a successful energy transition toward 2050,” around the time Turkey expects its $1 trillion economy to be carbon neutral.