Second nuclear plant accord ready by month’s end: Turkish Energy Minister

Second nuclear plant accord ready by month’s end: Turkish Energy Minister

Second nuclear plant accord ready by month’s end: Turkish Energy Minister

Rallying against nuclear plant projects that jeopardize human health, protestors compose a human chain in Istanbul on March 10, commemorating the second anniversary of a nuclear disaster at a power plant in Fukushima, Japan. Another anti-nuclear rally took place in Ankara yesterday. AA photo

Turkey’s energy minister has set a deadline for an agreement on a second nuclear plant to be built in Sinop for the end of the month.

“We think we will shape the international [nuclear] deal that will contribute to Turkey’s development, growth and progress by the end of this month. Of course, if the competition won’t heat up,” Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said while receiving board members of the Energy Efficiency Association at a ministry building in Ankara.

In his remarks, the minister also hinted that one of three final contenders also may be eliminated from the race.

Japan, South Korea and China are the short-listed contenders for the 5,000-megawatt nuclear power plant, which is slated to be built in the Black Sea province of Sinop, while Canada lags behind, Yıldız announced last week.

France also emerged as another bidder, with French company GDF Suez officially placing a joint bid with Japanese companies Itochu and Mitsubishi.

The second nuclear power plant is expected to require an investment worth between $22 billion and $25 billion.

Russia’s Rosatom, which will build Turkey’s first nuclear power station, will start its construction in mid-2015 and expects the facility to start producing electricity in 2019, its deputy general manager told Reuters last month.

Anti-nuclear protests

Yesterday, a few hours after the minister’s meeting, members of the Anti-Nuclear Platform held rallies against the construction of nuclear facilities, hoping to attract the government’s attention on the danger of nuclear facilities both for people and the environment.

The group, who chanted slogans and unfurled a banner saying “No to Nuclear,” gathered in front of the ministry building.

“As long as nuclear power plants exist, the murders purporting to be accidents will continue,” the group said in a written statement, adding that humanity continues to live on a powder keg.

Commenting on the protests, Yıldız said they are natural but the government will proceed with nuclear attempts and such anti-nuclear movements should not be perceived as representative of society as a whole, as those supporting nuclear power plants do not demonstrate or protest.

“It’s normal for [non-governmental organizations] to gather here and express their opinions through media and it’s the reality of life. It’s a color, a variety for us too. We respect these [protests] but we will go our way.”

The minister, however, admitted that nuclear power plants undoubtedly carry risks and that they should be Turkey’s most-secure buildings.

“An earthquake more intense than a magnitude of 7.4 hasn’t happened in Turkey but we will build a facility that can endure a 9.0-magnitude earthquake,” he said.