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South Korea, Turkey May Complete Nuclear-Plant Deal Next Year

South Korea, which won a $20 billion atomic reactor order from the United Arab Emirates in December, said it may sign a contract by the end of next year to build a nuclear power plant in Turkey.

Energy Minister Choi Kyung Hwan and his Turkish counterpart Taner Yildiz signed a preliminary agreement to cooperate on the plant, South Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in an e-mailed statement today. The announcement came after a summit between South Korean President Lee Myung Bak and Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Seoul today.

South Korea emerged as a major player in the global nuclear market after state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. beat General Electric Co. and Areva SA to win an order to build reactors in the U.A.E. In March, Turkey and Korea Electric signed an accord to study construction of a plant in the northern region of Sinop.

South Korea said last week that the country may win the order after a ministerial meeting in the Turkish capital.

“I see strong possibilities,” Minister of Knowledge Economy Choi said on June 11 after meeting Yildiz in Ankara, according to a pooled report from journalists. “I don’t see any competition because this would be a negotiated contract.”

In May, Russia signed an accord with Turkey to build the country’s first atomic-power plant on the southern coast for $20 billion. Russia will also own the four reactors, Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russian state nuclear holding company Rosatom Corp., told reporters on May 12.

The number of reactors globally may double by 2030, driven by demand in India and China, according to the World Nuclear Association. About 435 plants are planned or proposed by 2030, data from the London-based group show. South Korea aims to secure contracts valued at $400 billion by 2030.

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