6 Aug 2009 19:20

Russia, Turkey sign agreement on cooperation in nuclear energy

ANKARA. Aug 6 (Interfax) - Russia and Turkey have signed an agreement on cooperation in nuclear energy, an Interfax correspondent reported from the signing ceremony.

The head of the Rosatom state corporation, Sergei Kirienko, signed for the Russian side and the acting head of Turkey's atomic energy agency, Zafer Alper, signed for Turkey.

They also signed an agreement on timely notification in the event of a nuclear accident and on information exchanges concerning nuclear facilities.

The intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in nuclear energy is a framework document that will provide the legal basis for implementing joint projects. The document covers a wide range of potential areas of cooperation, including scientific research, construction and operation of nuclear facilities, delivery of nuclear materials, provision of services over the entire nuclear fuel cycle and exploration and development of uranium deposits. The agreement is for 10 years with automatic extension.

The Turkish leadership made the decision in 2007 to diversify its electricity sector and develop nuclear generation. It plans to build a nuclear power plant at the Akkuyu site in Antalya and the Synop site on the Black Sea coast.

In March 2008 a tender was announced on construction of the nation's first nuclear power plant at the Akkuyu site on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis. That is, the builder will receive ownership of the plant. The only contender after two rounds of the tender are a consortium of Russian Inter RAO UES and Atomstroyexport and Turkish Park Teknik. It would be the first time a builder wins a BOO contract for a nuclear facility in a foreign country.

The Turkish government guarantees purchase of electricity from the nuclear plant at a fixed price for 15 years, but not past 2030.

The consortium believes the first block of the nuclear plant might be brought into service in 2016 and subsequent blocks would enter service in 2017, 2018 and 2019.