More details are emerging of the failed bidding process for the contract to build Turkey’s first nuclear reactor. Not only did the process only attract one bid - meaning it fell foul of Turkish competition laws - it now turns out the bid from the Park Teknik consortium fell short technically as well.
One of the shortcomings of the bid was that the proposed reactor would be fuelled by uranium pellets available only from Russia. While this might have been excellent for the long term prospects of the Russian nuclear industry is would have done nothing for the shaky reputation of nuclear power providing energy security. (Russian industry is already responsible for generating 35 per cent of Turkey’s electricity – this deal would push it to 55 per cent.)
This doesn’t mean the matter is over. Despite the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) dismissing the bid on technical grounds, the Turkish cabinet can still rule the bid as acceptable. Will technical considerations beat political ones? We can only hope.
We’ve also yet to discover how much the Park Teknik consortium say the reactor would cost. We know this project won’t give energy security. We can guarantee it won’t be clean. So, will it be cheap, the last of the three virtues its cheerleaders claim for nuclear power?
The answer is we just don’t know. The envelope containing the cost of the project was not opened when TAEK pronounced its judgement on the bid’s technical aspects. It will only be opened should the government decide to go ahead in the face of expert advice. That’s one envelope that should be left closed.
The Turkish cabinet makes its decision next week…