Japanese-French JV seeks Turkey nuclear reactor order

A joint venture between Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and its French partner Areva SA is preparing to offer to sell Ankara nuclear reactors to be installed in a planned second nuclear power plant in Turkey, The Nikkei reported on Thursday, quoting an anonymous Turkish government source.

The Turkish government official, who spoke to Nikkei, claimed that a joint venture (JV) of Mitsubishi and Areva, named Atmea, has mulled offering to sell middle-sized reactors to Turkey. The JV had earlier sold a similar nuclear reactor to Jordan.

The remarks follow comments by Energy Minister Taner Yıldız on Wednesday when he said a South Korean bid to build Turkey's second nuclear power plant will expire soon “unless the country comes up with a favorable offer.” He stated that talks are still continuing with four bidders, which are Japan, South Korea, China and Canada, to build the second nuclear plant in the Black Sea province of Sinop.

Turkey aims to have three nuclear power plants, all of them operational by 2023. Ankara inked a $20 billion deal with Russia's Atomstroyexport for the construction of Turkey's first nuclear plant in the southern town of Akkuyu back in 2010.

Mitsubishi is not the first Japanese company to bid for Turkish nuclear projects. While it seemed close to winning a contract to construct a second nuclear plant in Turkey in 2011, Japan's Toshiba Corp. lost this bid as the Turkish government scrapped the project after the scale of the Fukushima disaster became apparent.

2011's twin disasters -- a powerful quake and tsunami -- that hit Japan, leading to persistent radiation leakage from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, led many countries, including Germany, to scrap plans for increasing reliance on nuclear energy, or even to develop total exit plans, but it failed to dampen Turkey's enthusiasm for its ongoing projects. The government thinks Turkey must turn to nuclear power to meet its growing energy needs given its rapid economic expansion.

28 December 2012 / TODAY'S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL ,

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