Turkey, South Korea aim to sign nuke deal by November
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News | 8/27/2010 12:00:00 AM | ÜMİT ENGİNSOY
Turkey and S Korea are planning to sign by mid-November an inter-governmental agreement regarding construction of a $10 billion nuclear power plant.
Turkey and South Korea are planning in mid-November to enter into one of the most important phases of the process of building a nuclear power plant in northern Turkey worth nearly $10 billion, sources close to the project said Friday.
"This week's talks went well, and the target of the two countries is to sign the inter-governmental agreement during the G-20 summit in Seoul in mid-November," said one source.
The South Korean capital is scheduled to host the next summit of the Group of 20 countries on Nov. 11 and 12. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to represent Turkey at the gathering.
Top officials from South Korea's state-controlled energy company Kepco visited Ankara on Tuesday and Wednesday for talks with Energy Minister Taner Yıldız and other Turkish counterparts on the planned nuclear deal.
Under an intention voiced jointly by Turkey and South Korea early this year, South Korea is expected to build Turkey's second nuclear power plant in Sinop in the Black Sea area. Under a separate agreement, Russia is due to build Turkey's first nuclear plant near the Mediterranean coast. The Korean power plant is planned to cost around $10 billion.
The planned inter-governmental agreement is key to the program, because when signed it will reflect a strong commitment by the governments of Turkey and South Korea to build the Sinop power plant.
But to sign the inter-government agreement, the two sides will need to iron out small, remaining differences before November. After this agreement, a full contract is expected to be signed between Kepco and the Turkish Energy Ministry, probably next year.
[HH] Rising star in nuclear power
South Korea has recently become increasingly active in seeking international nuclear energy deals. Kepco earlier this year won a deal to build a $20 billion power plant in the United Arab Emirates.
Kepco presently operates 20 nuclear power plants in South Korea, and another six are being constructed.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, South Korean nuclear plants are among the safest in the world. Under IAEA figures, South Korean nuclear plants had only one accident in the past 30 years, while that figure was two for Japan, six for the United States, eight for Russia and 35 for France.
South Korean nuclear plants also are the least expensive in terms of unit power generation, according to industry sources. The South Korean option costs about $2.3/kW, while that figure is $2.9/kW in the case of France and Japan, $3.05/kW for Russia and $3.58/kW for the United States.
Despite ongoing concern by environmentalist groups over the safety of nuclear power plants worldwide, the IAEA says that further development of this sector is inevitable. The IAEA predicts that 300 new nuclear plants will be built throughout the world by 2030.
Kepco is the world's sixth largest nuclear energy company in terms of power generated.