4 Mart 2011 Cuma

Japan bank to support Toshiba in Turkish nuclear plant bid


The Japan Bank for International Cooperation, or JBIC, could offer loans to Toshiba, which has exclusive rights to negotiate the building of a nuclear power station in Turkey, according to an official at the state-owned bank.

Toshiba, the biggest Japanese maker of power generation machinery, along with the country’s Trade Ministry, won the right last year to negotiate exclusively with Turkey until March 31 to build a power plant on the Black Sea coast, which may cost as much as $20 billion.

The talks commenced after Turkey failed to conclude negotiations with a group led by Korea Electric because of differences over ownership structure and power pricing.

Japan is pushing companies such as Toshiba and Hitachi to compete with rivals including Korea Electric Power Corp. and Areva for overseas nuclear projects to aid the nation’s economic recovery.
“JBIC’s assistance is part of a long-term government plan to boost the success rate for Japanese firms,” said Daniel Aldrich, a political science professor at Purdue University in Indiana. “France and South Korea certainly want to continue their penetration of foreign markets in nuclear technology.”

Any failure to reach an agreement with Toshiba this month may allow Electricite de France to enter the fray. Turkey’s Energy Ministry said Jan. 4 it had blocked a bid by Europe’s biggest power producer to build the plant and would only consider it if talks with Japan collapse.

JBIC expects to provide financing should Tokyo-based Toshiba obtain the contract to build as many as four reactors with a capacity of as much as 5,400 megawatts, said Tadashi Maeda, head of corporate planning at JBIC and an adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s Cabinet.

Itochu Corp., Japan’s fourth-largest trading company, is also involved in the bidding, while the government has asked Tokyo Electric Power to join the group, said Maeda in an interview at the bank’s headquarters in central Tokyo on Monday.
Tokyo Electric received a request for technical assistance for the Turkish plant in November from the Japanese government, spokesman Daisuke Hirose said.

Yuko Takeuchi, an Itochu spokeswoman, and Toshiba spokesman Hiroki Yamazaki declined to comment.
The Japan government wants to promote Toshiba’s reactors “because if we only use them in Japan, the technology will suffer from Galapagos Syndrome,” Maeda said, referring to a phenomenon where product development takes place in isolation from other countries.

Japan, the world’s third-largest nuclear power producer, wants its reactor makers to take advantage of a global expansion in atomic generation to spur exports and economic growth. More than 470 nuclear reactors are planned or under consideration, the World Nuclear Association said on Feb. 6. The U.S. has the most, followed by France.

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