Japan Snatches Deal for Turkey's 2nd Nuclear Plant from South Korea
After months of talks, Japan appears to have grabbed from South Korea a deal for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Turkey.
Turkey's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Tanev Yildiz and Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Akihiro Ohata signed Friday in Tokyo a memorandum of understanding for the construction for a nuclear power plant in Turkey, the Turkish paper Today's Zaman reported.
Yildiz and Ohata have praised the agreement for providing partnership opportunities to the two countries.
"We would like to transfer the know-how of Japanese nuclear power expertise to Turkey and would like to have a high-tech nuclear power plant," Ohata is quoted as saying. During his visit to Japan, Y?ld?z was scheduled to visit Japanese nuclear power plants, which withstood a strong earthquake last year.
When asked when the construction of a nuclear power plant in Turkey would begin, Ohata said the Turks would like to complete the preparations in three month's time, so they expect to start within the next three months.
Y?ld?z also met with Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and Senior Vice Minister of Finance Mitsuru Sakurai, as well as with the CEOs of several Japanese companies and representatives from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI).
According to a Saturday's article of the Korea Times, a South Korea-based English-language publication, citing a Korean government source, however, Turkey has not made any decision on selecting a partner to build a new nuclear power plant on its Black Sea coast.
The Korea Times points out that South Korea is competing with Japan for a multibillion-dollar power-generating nuclear reactor project in Turkey; it says that Turkey is now in talks with Japan for the project after its earlier negotiations with South Korea apparently failed to make a breakthrough.
In an interview with Yonhap News Agency earlier this week, Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-hwan said that Turkey may try to conclude talks with Tokyo by the end of the year, after negotiations with Seoul were put on hold due to disagreement over how to recoup initial investment costs.
South Korea and Turkey began formal talks in March and were expected to reach an intergovernmental agreement during last month's G20 summit in Seoul, but a deal was not reached due to outstanding differences such as establishing "fair" electricity prices, according to the report.
The Turkish English-language paper Today's Zaman reminds that Turkey began negotiating with Japan on the construction of a nuclear power plant in the province of Sinop, in the Black Sea region, at the beginning of December of this year after talks with South Korea failed last month when the two sides failed to reach a common understanding on issues such as price and purchasing guarantees and the state's share.
Earlier in 2010, in May, Turkey reached an agreement with Russia for the construction of what will become Turkey's first nuclear power plant in Mersin's Akkuyu district.
According to the agreement, Russia's state-run Atomstroyexport JSC will construct four 1000 MW reactors at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, and will have a controlling stake in the project. The project is estimated to cost about billion and was approved by Turkey's Parliament in mid-July.
Turkey's Akkuyu NPP is viewed in Bulgaria as a competitor to the potential second Bulgarian NPP at Belene on the Danube where Atomstroyexport is supposed to construct two 1000 MW reactors. Bulgaria and Russia, however, have not reached a final deal for the Belene NPP yet as they have been tangled for months in haggling over the final price of the construction. At the same time, Bulgaria's Borisov government has been seeking strategic foreign investors to finance the project.
For the time being, Finnish company Fortum, French company Altran, and the government of Serbia are expected to participate with small shares, with the Bulgarian state electricity company NEK and Russian state nuclear company Rosatom, the parent of Atomstroyexport, expected to have bigger shares.
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