Japan, Turkey ink initial directive on nuclear power plant deal

15:50, December 24, 2010      

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Japan and Turkey inked a directive on bilateral nuclear cooperation, taking both countries a step closer towards the fruition of a 20 billion U.S. dollar tie-up for Japanese firms to build a nuclear facility in Turkey, a Japanese industry ministry official said Friday.

The agreement, which this far is non-binding, was reached during discussions in Tokyo between Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akihiro Ohata and visiting Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz.

"The paper is a broad agreement in the area of nuclear energy development, but it backs up the discussion that the two countries have started on Sinop," the Black Sea coast location earmarked for the plant, a Japanese official said.

Japan, which won a nuclear plant contract in Vietnam in October, plans to drive economic growth in the region by exporting more nuclear reactors and technology products, an official with knowledge of the mater said.

However, Turkey has said it remains open to alternative proposals from other companies if they can bring something new or better to the table, officials said.

At a joint press conference held after the talks, Ohata lauded Japan's nuclear power technologies as being remarkably safe and resistant to earthquakes, while the Turkish minister seemed eager about seeking Japan's understanding, support and cooperation.

"We are expecting that the construction of a nuclear power plant in Turkey could be achieved under the cooperation of both the public and private sectors of the two countries," Yildiz told the press conference.

"Japan could offer a lot to meet the needs in Turkey, particularly earthquake-proof technologies," said the Japanese official.

Turkey hopes to build four nuclear reactors at Sinop while the details of a possible contract are still subject to negotiations, the official added.

The two ministers agreed to come up with "some sort of conclusion in three months", he said.

Ankara hopes to have nuclear plants up and running in at least two regions in 2023.

Turkey signed a deal worth 20 billion U.S. dollars with Russia in May to build its first nuclear power plant, at Akkuyu on the southern Mediterranean coast.

"My expectation and hope is that the cost will not be higher than numbers we have been talking with Russia and South Korea," Yildiz said Friday.

Source: Xinhua

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