Turkey should be able to outline the details regarding the companies that will begin constructing a planned second nuclear plant in the country "before the end of this month," Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters Monday in Ankara Today`s Zaman reported.
Turkey plans to build the country's second nuclear power plant in the northern province of Sinop as part of efforts to reduce its dependence on imported oil and gas. 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.
Currently, companies from South Korea, China, Japan and France are competing to win the Sinop deal and have submitted their proposals to the government. A Canadian firm was eliminated from the running last week. Heating up the competition, Japan's Itochu Corp, Mitsubishi Corp and France's GDF Suez have already made a joint bid to build Turkey's second nuclear power plant with a total investment of $20-25 billion.
Regarding earlier safety problems experienced in Japan, namely the meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant in March 2011, Yildiz said on Monday that Turkey has improved its safety standards and there should not be any problems with going nuclear although the country sits on active quake fault lines.
Meanwhile, the UN atomic energy chief said on Monday that efforts to enhance global nuclear safety have advanced since Japan's Fukushima disaster.