Friday, August 07, 2009

Putin's Visit to Ankara and Nuclear Plant Tender

Dear Colleagues, Dear Energy Professional

Your writer had sincere feeling that Turkey was about to place the Nuclear Power Plant order to Russian group, because Russian prime Minister Vladimir Putin was coming to Turkey on 6th August 2009.

It is our sincere feeling that without a guaranteed order, he would never come to Turkey. Prior to that meeting there were high expectations that Turkish and Russian sides would sign the NPP contract. Turkey had completed the Russian proposal for constructing country's first-ever nuclear power plant.

All our past energy/ industrial plant agreements were negotiated behind the closed doors, all under secret terms for the sake of public interests, and they are not released to public scrutiny and evaluation of the general public.

Confidentiality and secrecy agreements can be signed between commercial private companies in order to protect intellectual property of each party. That is normal. But the same practise between public companies is not acceptable. If there is any secret agreement in any of these public tenders past and present, then it is our sincere feeling that there is high possibility of corruption practice.

We need to know details of Russian gas purchase agreement.
We need to know details of Iranian gas purchase agreement.
Similarly we need to know details of the New Nuclear power plant tender.

However we now understand that order is not placed yet. Negotiated final price is still the key decision factor. We need to know how much we shall be paying to Russian Nuclear Power Plant owner for next 15 years.

We need to know how the contractor consortium will be handling the nuclear waste for long term. We do not want any temporary nuclear waste disposal on AkKuyu Mersin sea shores. They name the nuclear waste disposal system as "Temporary Storage Site" and they keep there "Permanent" for, say, 1000 years as in the case of Russian NPPs in Bulgaria.

Contractor should re-transport their nuclear waste back to their own waste disposal storage sites in Siberia.

Contractor should supply the best available instrumentation and control systems, and the best pumps from reputable international markets.

It is not secret that Russian commercial instrumentation and controls, and commercial pumps are miserable in operation. We have miserable SeydiSehir, Orhaneli, Iskenderun industrial installation examples of the past, all contracted through inter-governmental agreements.

They are worn out fast; all are in disaster status at this time needing rehabilitation urgently. In market economies, private companies with so many failure references in their past can not get prequalification for future tenders so easy.

We, independent energy analysts are here for this purpose. By employing our past professional experiences, we evaluate the case in detail; we interpret the small details where newcomer public employees cannot notice upfront.

We make the necessary public policies much earlier than the public administrators, lead them how to negotiate in case of closed doors when/ where necessary for the best interest of our country. Sometimes we exaggerate, and there you should trust to your common sense.

Putin and Berlusconi came to Ankara, had meetings with our top administrators, signed already agreed documents in energy projects, they gave poses with broad smiles and hard handshakes and left all in one day.

This is not only chess game or poker. This is full implementation of “Game Theory” in international politics. Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics that is used in the social sciences, most notably in economics, as well as in biology, engineering, political science, international relations, computer science, and philosophy. Game theory attempts to mathematically capture behavior in strategic situations, in which an individual's success in making choices depends on the choices of others.

All we need is full transparency in all public transactions; hence we all need independent energy analyst in evaluation and best available application of Game Theory for best interest of our country and the nation.

Haluk Direskeneli, Ankara based Energy Analyst


Blogger Ardent said...

A very interesting summation of the recent meeting between Erdogan, Putin and Berlusconi.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One has to wonder why no one other than Turkey and countries formally associated with the USSR is buying Russian Nuclear Power plants? China has some 40-50 in service and or on order and I do not believe one of them is of a Russian design?
Are the Russian designs been formally evaluated by outside experts, like from the IAEA, to confirm that they are designed with all of the required, as well as appropriate design safety features? If they have been would not more countries be buying them?
Lastly, why is it that not one "Western" design was submitted? Was it because the terms were just too onerous? It appears that the tender asked for the impossible. If one is a student of history, one can learn that in countries that have never built a nuclear power station, the first one and two, and maybe three and four stations built take a long time to build, far longer than the tender allowed for. And, even in one Northern European country where they have built these stations, there are problems, delays, and hugh cost overruns, which are now in court. Does the tender assume that somehow, the country is immune from these problems?
And, how and where will the Turks that will operate these plants be trained? As i understand it, it takes at least a year or two just to receive the training to sit at the panel and operate and monitor these plants. Then, one needs time to get the necessary experience. Just like a person who "earns" their driving license, they may have the technical knowledge to operate a vehicle on the road, but not the experience. They gain the experience after getting their license. Same principle will apply to those chosen to operate a nuclear power plant. And, I would think one would need more than one operator. Probably close to 100-150. All need to be trained, tested, licensed, and then be given time to gain experience. There are ways this can be accomplished but is this in the tender?
I am all for Turkey developing its nuclear power potential. I think Turkey needs them to diversify its electrical generation sector. But building just a few does not seem to make economic sense. Build 20-30, and then local Turkish industries will develop the necessary skills and expertise to maintain them, and improve them when needed. It is then that independence from foreign firms might be realized.
I see other problems. Like you, I wonder about the transparency of the process, the Turkish Citizens' input, the skill sets needed to build and maintain one of these complex machines, the talent available to be trained to safely operate and manage these plants, etc etc etc.

5:09 AM  

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