Turkey: Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) And Turkey

Last Updated: 23 February 2015
Article by Safak Herdem

In terms of the power generation, using the natural gas takes first and the coal takes second place in Turkey. The production of electricity from renewable resources is approximately %3,7 in the world and this rate is %3,1 in Turkey. The world supplies %13,7 percentage of the electricity need with the nuclear power and yet Turkey has no facility to produce electricity with nuclear plants. Furthermore, the installed capacity of nuclear-generated electricity production is anticipated to increase by 58 % all around the world in 2035. For instance; even with today's state, the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation in France is 78%.

Hence, after analyzing the usage of energy sources worldwide, there occur many critical and necessary reasons why the nuclear plants should be implemented in Turkey:

While looking at the usage of the resources of power generation, Turkey has been facing about % 72 percentage of the import dependency of energy resources. %98 of the natural gas, %92 of the petroleum and %30 of the coal is imported from outside in Turkey.

For Turkey; as relying heavily on the natural gas and oil sources of outside, the idea of having nuclear plants has actually a significant and considerable place. At many countries, such as Russia, USA, Canada, South Africa and Mexico exists a lot of nuclear plants, even though they have also rich sources of petroleum and natural gas.

In response to the high import rate of oil, gas and coal, Turkey has approximately 136.600 MW of renewable sources' capacity. However, only 22.075 MW of this potential has now been using. Due to the capacity factors, this current amount has a very small proportion as comparing with the rest of Turkey's renewable potential which is about 114,525 MW.

Besides, as the energy sources are dependent to the outside and limited, demand for electricity consumption continually increases in Turkey which is a rise of average %7-8 percentage annually.

In order to provide this increasing amount of demand, additional 4000-5000 MW should be provided. This also should be noted that Turkey in terms of electricity demand growth ranks first in Europe and the second in the world after China which has a population of 1.4 billion.

Also electricity demand of the world between 2035 and 2010 is projected to increase with an annual average of 2.2%, while the total 70 %.

Since the renewable sources show continuous variation depending on climatic conditions, there is a need of base load power plants that are able to function for 7/24 such as nuclear power plants in any case. The nuclear energy can't create a rivalry to the renewable energy; it can be a complementary energy source.

Even Turkey's full potential of renewable energy is going to be used in the following 10 years, only half the amount of electricity consumption can be met with these sources.

In addition, nuclear power plants are not beneficial and profitable only for the power generation, but also for employment, human resources, technology and so on, as they offer important contributions in many areas. When the construction of nuclear power plants is at the most intense times, 10.000 of people work and at the working period, at least 3500-4000 people are going to work. Also the plant operator, the relevant public institutions and universities are developing with the quality of human resources in terms of the field of the nuclear power studies and technological knowledge is increasing in many areas with civil nuclear technology. For example; between the Governments of the Republic of Turkey and Russian Federation, "The Agreement on Establishment and Operation of A Nuclear Power Plant (NPP)" in Akkuyu Field was signed in 2010 in Ankara, gives the Turkish students the opportunity of receiving graduate and undergraduate education in Russia and also occupational skill training at the nuclear power plants in Russia. 

About Turkey's nuclear power program by the government in 2023, the commissioning of two NPPs and the construction of the third are going to be started. For instance; one of the NPPs, Akkuyu for which the first investment cost is approximately 20 billion dollars, is composed of about 550.000 parts.  Also for the Turkish companies gaining experience by taking part in such a big project will enable them to become suppliers in the other NPP projects in the world in the long term.

Looking at the nuclear power plants from the world view; there are 435 nuclear plants in the 31 countries and it's observed that the populations of the 10 in those 31countries are less than Istanbul, the most developed city in Turkey.

In this context, Turkey needs to consider both of domestic renewable energy resources and the electricity generated from nuclear power plants which should be an obligation to include in its portfolio of energy supply for the busy schedules of energy demand.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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Safak Herdem
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