Inspenet, September 26, 2023.
According to statements by Turkish Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar, Turkey is in the final stages of negotiations for the construction of a Chinese nuclear power plant in its European region.
Last week, a delegation from the Chinese state-owned company SPIC visited the proposed site for the four reactors, which is located near the border with Bulgaria and Greece. Additionally, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Turkey to resolve outstanding details. This project would become the largest Chinese investment abroad to date, marking a milestone in its history.
This would not be the only nuclear power plant
If completed, this nuclear power plant would be the third in Turkish territory and investigations have already begun for a fourth. In April, during the election campaign, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a symbolic inauguration of the first, called Akkuyu, which is being built by the Russian public company Rosatom.
For his part, his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, participated in the ceremony by videoconference. However, this plant will not be operational until next year. A second plant is planned near Sinop, on the Black Sea, although there is currently a dispute between a South Korean company and Rosatom over its award, after the withdrawal of a Franco-Japanese consortium.
Although only Israel has developed a nuclear arsenal, Iran has been the subject of constant suspicion regarding its intentions to follow a similar path. So far, Pakistan is the only Muslim-majority country that possesses nuclear weapons and the possibility of other Arab countries acquiring nuclear weapons still seems to be far from becoming a reality, although the fundamental condition, which is to have nuclear reactors, is beginning to materialize.
During this week, the crown prince and prime minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed bin Salman, expressed in New York that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, his country will follow the same path. He also hinted that the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel is closer than ever. It is no secret that Saudi Arabia is advancing its plans to build nuclear reactors, preferably in collaboration with the United States, although it has not yet accepted the inspection conditions that Washington imposed on the United Arab Emirates.
Meanwhile, it is also exploring options with Russia and China. On the other hand, Egypt began construction of Rosatom nuclear reactors a year ago. Tension between Riyadh and Tehran appears to have decreased with Beijing’s support in reestablishing diplomatic relations.
Although Turkey has participated in the new Silk Roads and recently inaugurated a Chinese thermal power plant in Adana that meets 3% of its energy needs, mistrust persists due to the presence of Uyghur Islamist exiles in Istanbul.
At a time of tensions between China and the United States and conflicts between Russia and NATO, Turkey, as a member of the Alliance, seeks a balance. However, everyone is aware, or at least fears, that projects of this magnitude require decades of cooperation. The Akkuyu plant will employ 4,000 workers, most of them Russians. In addition, Turkey has sent 317 students to Russia for training in nuclear engineering. Despite this, China, with 56 reactors in operation and 24 under construction, leads in this field.