Energy

Turkey and China signed three agreements covering nuclear security, energy and agricultural health certification during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit ahead of the G20 summit in Hangzhou . Erdoğan and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held talks and presided over meetings between delegates from the two countries.

In the mean time, Turkey published in its official gazette a deal with China for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy on 2 September 2016, a step needed to open the way for China to potentially build Turkey’s third nuclear power plant. The deal was originally signed in 2012 but such international agreements only go into effect in Turkey once they are published in the gazette. Russia is building Turkey’s first nuclear plant, while a Japanese-French consortium will build its second in the north. China is among countries interested in building a third plant.

The bidding process for Turkey’s third nuclear plant is expected to be opened in 2017, and while the Chinese option is edging ahead at the moment, things can change if competitors can come up with better offers. A bilateral nuclear agreement is a necessary but neither sufficient nor decisive condition for awarding the construction of a nuclear plant. Working with China, however, offers a number of serious advantages for the Turks.

To start with, the agreement with China promises capacity improvement throughout the entire cycle of nuclear energy generation, and not just the delivery of a power plant as the final product.

The agreement that was signed in 2012 and ratified last week is not only about constructing a nuclear power plant in, it is rather a detailed blueprint for a more comprehensive partnership, incorporating:

  • Research and development in nuclear energy
  • Design, construction, operation, refurbishment, modernization, testing and decommissioning of nuclear power plants
  • Exploration and mining of nuclear minerals; processing and disposal of radioactive waste
  • Joint development of innovative reactor- and fuel-related technologies
  • Nuclear safety
  • Training of nuclear engineers and qualified personnel
  • Supply of nuclear materials.
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