Türkiye says nears deal with China for 3rd nuclear power plant
Türkiye hopes to finalize discussions with China and strike a deal on the construction of the country’s third nuclear power plant “within the next few months,” a top energy official said, News.Az reports citing Daily Sabah.
The move is part of Türkiye's ambitious plan to triple its renewable energy capacity by 2053 as it strives to become a carbon-neutral economy.
The discussions, aimed at boosting the nation's energy production, are now reaching their conclusive stages, with Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar emphasizing the importance of sealing the deal amid interest from other parties.
Bayraktar said negotiations with China to build the plant in Kırklareli province in the Thrace region had been ongoing for an extended period.
"We have now reached the stage where we should finalize this agreement within the next few months, as other interested parties are also involved," the minister told a press briefing held by the ministry.
"We have been in talks with a Chinese company for a very long time. We are quite close."
Bayraktar assured that there were no major points of contention between the parties and believed they could soon reach a deal. “I think that we can fill the remaining gaps and that we will soon reach an agreement with China on our nuclear energy program,” he noted.
He highlighted the importance of reducing coal's share in electricity generation to achieve a carbon-neutral economy.
Bayraktar stressed they want to reduce the share of up to 25% that coal power plants currently have in electricity generation, but said replacing this with gas power plants can only be done if imported gas is at a "cost-competitive" level.
To achieve this and balance renewable energy, nuclear energy is considered the primary option.
Russia is currently constructing Türkiye's first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu, on the Mediterranean coast, which could eventually reduce the country's dependence on foreign gas imports.
Bayraktar said the "main construction work" had finished on the first of the Russian plant's four reactors.
"It is moving well," he said.
Bayraktar said Türkiye's ultimate goal is to increase electricity production capacity from nuclear energy to 20 gigawatts, nearly four times what the Akkuyu plant could generate when operating at full capacity within a few years.
To achieve this, the minister said Türkiye may need an additional 5 gigawatts of capacity from small nuclear reactors, known as SMRs.
“We would like to create a broader nuclear ecosystem in Türkiye, Bayraktar said. "We need nuclear energy for a successful clean energy transition by 2050."
Türkiye has been talking to Russia's Rosatom state nuclear energy company about building a second power plant in the Black Sea city of Sinop.
But Bayraktar stressed that Türkiye was also open to offers from South Korean firms as well as those in China looking to build "small modular reactors."
"We are discussing (Sinop) with all the interested countries," Bayraktar said.