Turkey Holds Nuclear Talks With Japan After South Korean Discussions Fail

Turkey is holding exclusive talks with Japan to build its second nuclear power plant after failing to reach an agreement with South Korea.

Turkey aims to conclude a deal with Japan in three months, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said today in an interview in Tokyo. Yildiz is due to hold talks with Toshiba Corp., Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Itochu Corp.

South Korea and Turkey failed to reach an agreement to build a nuclear power plant in Sinop on the Black Sea coast because of “differences in issues including electricity sales price,” South Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy said Nov. 13. Japan, which won a nuclear plant contract in Vietnam in October, plans to spur economic growth by exporting more nuclear reactors and technology products.

“We have some targets to recover the time we have lost” to build the nuclear plant, Yildiz said. “Within three months, main frameworks should be determined,” including financing, treasury, insurance, partnerships and power tariffs, he said.

Yildiz said his visit to Japan comes after officials from Toshiba and the Japanese government held two rounds of technical meetings in Turkey on the project. “They told us their first impression is quite positive,” he said.

Turkey received an offer from Japan to build a nuclear plant in the country, CNBC-e television said on Oct. 7, citing Yildiz. The offer is an “aggressive one,” the Istanbul-based news channel cited the minister as saying then.

‘More Aggressive’

“Major players including Japan are getting more aggressive in the global nuclear market after they were beaten by South Korea last year to the United Arab Emirates’ $18.6 billion order,” said Shin Min Seok, an analyst at Daewoo Securities Co. in Seoul.

South Korea emerged as a competitor in the global nuclear market after Korea Electric Power Corp. beat General Electric Co. and Areva SA in December last year to the U.A.E. order.

Yildiz and his Japanese counterpart Akihiro Ohata are due to sign a memorandum of understanding on nuclear power cooperation tomorrow, Japan’s trade ministry said in a statement yesterday.

On Dec. 25, the Turkish minister is scheduled to visit Tokyo Electric’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant, the world’s biggest atomic power station, according to an e-mailed statement by the ministry. Tokyo Electric officials including Executive Vice President Sakae Muto will meet Yildiz at the plant in northern Japan, company spokesman Norio Takahashi said by telephone today.

Calls to the offices of the spokesmen for Toshiba and Itochu weren’t answered as businesses and markets are shut for a public holiday today. An Itochu spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a voice message seeking comment left on his mobile phone.

Russia and Turkey signed a contract in May to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant with four reactors, at a cost of about $20 billion after more than a year of negotiations. Russia’s Rosatom Corp. will operate the plant in Akkuyu for 60 years, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said Dec. 15.

“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 today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tsuyoshi Inajima in Tokyo at tinajima@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net.

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