Is it necessary to be established Nuclear Power Plant in our country?


The following table shows the economical potentials of the renewable energy sources of our country. Our installed capacity in the renewable energy is approximately 136.600 MW and the part used is 18.659 MW. Although the remaining useable renewable potential is approximately 118.000 MW, the part which we use in the fact is a little part of our potential because of the capacity factor.

While our country’s electricity need was approximately 212 billion kWh per year as of the end of 2010, it is stipulated that this figure will reach to 500 billion kWh in 2023. However, even though we use all our hydraulic, wind, solar, geothermal, biomass potential, we can meet about half of this need (500 billion kWh).

According to the Electrical Energy Markets and Supply Security Strategy Document, our aim by 2023 is to decrease the natural gas share in electricity production from 46% to 30% and increase the renewable energy share to 30%.

This comes to mean to be provided a 150 billion kWh-electricity respectively from the renewable and natural gas for 2023.  Due to the fact that the renewable energy varies continuously depending on the climatic conditions, the base load power plants such as nuclear operating 4 seasons, 7 days, 24 hours are needed in any case.  

The renewable energy is reliable but not safe (continuous); an alternative energy resource. The nuclear power plants can be continuously operated independently of the season and climatic conditions. The wind is not blow always, the sun is not shine always, the rain is not be abundant always; but the nuclear power plant is operated always. The nuclear power plant is operated in 8000 of 8760 hours of the year by deducting the maintenance periods, but this average is 4000 hours in hydraulic and 2500 hours in solar. 

The approximate life of the solar energy systems is about 20 years. The average productivity of the photovoltaic solar batteries enabling the electricity production by using the solar energy is at the levels of 15-18%. However, it is not possible to produce electricity at the desired density because of the sun light’s low density and diffused character.  Moreover, the field where the solar energy systems are established could not be used for any other purpose.  

Not being continuity in the wind energy is required to be balanced with the storable energy resources, namely “basis load power plants”. For this reason, network problems occur when more than 20% of the total network is supplied from the wind. In order to obtain the electricity to be produced by a 10.000 MW-nuclear power plant, it is necessary to establish a 30.000 MW-wind plant or a 38.000 MW-solar plant. Due to the fact that our renewable energy resources depend on the climatic conditions and the electricity to be produced in consequence of this is not continuous, the basis power plants such as the nuclear power plants are needed in any case.

The approximate life of the wind energy plants is about 20 years and economic life of the system is about 30 years [20]. The wind power plants start to produce electricity as from 3 m/s wind speed and continue to produce electricity up to 25 m/s wind speed. If a wind power plant having 1 MW installed capacity is continuously operated with 100% productivity and full power in a year, it will produce 8,76 billion kWh electricity. The energy amount which can be produced in the fact is about one third of this value because of the capacity factor.

The capacity factor in the wind power plants varies generally between 20% and 45%. For example, a wind power plant having 1 MW installed capacity and whose capacity factor is realized as 30% produces electricity just up to 0,3×8,76 billion kWh = 2,628 billion kWh not 8,760 billion kWh per year. In other words, the status of this wind power plant is equal to the energy to be produced by a nuclear power plant operated continuously and with full power and having about 0,3 MW installed capacity. Having a lower capacity factor means that it is necessary to be established the wind power plants, with a 2 or 3 times more production capacity compared to a nuclear power plant in order to produce a certain amount of electricity.

Concerning the hydroelectric power plants’ capacity factors, if a decrease occurs in the rain amount, less water will be accumulated at the plant and consequently this will cause less energy to be obtained. The capacity is a parameter showing how efficiently a plant is used and establishes a relationship between the annual energy provided by the plant and the nominal power of the plant.

When examining the world average for the hydroelectric, the capacity factor is about 44%. The last 25 years’ capacity factor of the hydroelectric power plants is about 42% in Turkey. The various parameters such as the flow rate of a stream, drainage area, rainfall in that region and its distribution by time, vegetation cover, soil type, land morphology and climatic conditions of the region determine the capacity factor.

The flow rate changes in time and generally takes maximum values in winter and spring seasons and relatively minimum values in other seasons. For this reason, the electricity is produced not in 8760 hours but 3854 hours, close to the world average.

As mentioned above, when our renewable energy resources and their capacity factors are considered, the nuclear power plant is not an option but an obligation for our country, which possesses a large economic volume, but has a dependence on foreign sources in terms of energy resources. 

Our renewable resources, total installed capacity potential, installed capacity, capacity factor, 2023 Objective, Annual average production potential (Billion Wh/year); hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, total

Table 3. Economic Potentials and Capacity Factors of Renewable Energy Resources in Turkey [21]


Renewable resourcesPotential of total installed powerInstalled powerCapacity factor2023 TargetPotential of average annual production (million Wh/year)
Hydro36.00016.934% 4436.000144.000
Wind48.0001.587% 3020.00060.000
Solar50.000-% 203.0007.500
Geothermal60094% 846004.400
Biomass2.00044% 802.00014.000