Sole bidder in Turkey's first nuclear plant tender Atomstroyexport

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Turkey received six envelopes in the tender for the construction of the first nuclear power plant but only one of them was a bid, the general manager of Turkey's Electricity Trade Corp (TETAS) said Wednesday.

Haci Duran Gokkaya said Russian Atomstroyexport is the sole bidder of the tender, adding the rest of the submitted envelopes were expressions of thanks.

“The competition process continues since we have a bid, and the final decision would be made by the tender commission,” Gokkaya told reporters when asked about whether the tender would be renewed or not.

He did not disclose the details of the bid and the proposal of the Russian company would be assessed by the commission for approval.

Suez-Tractebel, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Unit Investment N.V., Sabanci Holding's Ak Enerji and Hattat Holding-Hema were the other companies who submitted envelopes.

The company submitted three envelopes including letters for their bid. In the first envelope, which was opened on Wednesday, includes the application form, temporary assurances and other related documents mentioned in the tender file.

The second envelope consists of the documents showing the company meets the standards of the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) and the third envelope includes the production levels and the sale prices for the electricity that would be produced at the power plant.

The bid submitted by the Russian Atomstroyexport would be send to TAEK for the assessment. TAEK would make its evaluation on the second envelope submitted by the company and deliver its decision in two weeks.

In the third stage, the envelope that includes the price bid would be opened and the lowest bid would be submitted to the government for approval.

The Turkish government had expressed its commitment to nuclear energy despite opposition to the power plants over environmental and security concerns. Turkey’s previous three attempts for nuclear power plants had failed.

TETAS held its fourth tender for the construction of a nuclear power plant, which is expected to meet a minimum 8 percent of Turkey’s electricity generation by 2020, and 20 percent by 2030.

The Akkuyu power plant on the Mediterranean coast in the southern province of Mersin has a planned capacity of 4,000 megawatts, plus or minus 25 percent. The firm promising to sell the cheapest electricity to the state for 15 years would win the tender.

Foreign companies interested in the tender had previously demanded extra time and a suspension of the tender due to worsening global financial conditions. Experts had speculated that TETAS may suspend the tender if no company submits a bid.

On Monday Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan ruled out the possibility of any suspension. Still experts had said it would not be surprising if no company bids for the tender and the process is suspended.

Companies such as Sabanci, General Electric, Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Spanish utility Iberdrola SA had expressed interest in the tender.

Firms taking tender documents had included Korean Electric Power Corp, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Japan's Itochu Corporation, France's Vinci Construction Grands Projets, Suez-Tractebel and Russian state firm Atomstroyexport.

Around 500 nuclear protestors on Wednesday gathered in the Black Sea port city of Sinop to demonstrate the planned construction of Turkey’s second nuclear power plant in the region, Dogan News Agency reported.

"We do not want any nuclear power plants," the protestors said, criticizing the government and demanding an end to the process.

"The entire world knows that there is no safe way to store nuclear wastes. These plants create massive problems for the next generations and accidents can happen at these plants. Even if no accidents occur, those living in the vicinity of these plants have a more likely to develop cancer... This deadly tender should be ended," Dogan News Agency quoted one protestor as saying.

Turkish police had detained 34 activists in the capital Ankara during a peaceful nuclear protest against the bid process on Tuesday.

Police broke up the unauthorized protest in front of Turkey's energy ministry and detained the protesters, who had dressed in black and posed as dead bodies to highlight the dangers of nuclear power plants.

Turkey, which is a net importer of gas and oil, imports nearly 67 percent of its supply, a figure that is expected to reach 75 percent by 2020. In the next few years, the country's energy demand is set to rise by 8 percent annually.

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