ANKARA - Turkish government is determined to continue nuclear projects despite radiation fear from a nuclear reactor in Japan that was hit by a massive earthquake on Friday.
"An earthquake occurred 16 km near the largest nuclear power plant of Japan. The system shut down automatically right after the earthquake and it opened when everything turned out normal. I can say Japan has tested itself. Nuclear power plant projects will continue in Turkey," Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Saturday.
Turkey plans to operate two or three nuclear power plants by 2023. In May 2010, Turkey and Russia signed a $20-bln deal for construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, situated on the Mediterranean coast. Turkey also engaged in nuclear talks with Japan in November 2010 after a failure with South Korea's state nuclear company KEPCO for the construction of the second plant on country's northern coast.
Taner Yildiz said that Turkey should double its installed capacity of 50,000 mw by 2023 and would try any options to achieve that goal including nuclear and renewable energy resources. In order to realize its nuclear ambitions and operate planned nuclear plants, Turkey plans to train its engineers in foreign institutions.
"We will send our nuclear engineers in groups to other countries for training. Each group will be made up of 60 engineers and they will receive training for one-two years. Training program will go on for seven years," Yildiz said.
On nuclear deal with Russia, Yildiz recalled that the project company was established and said it would start works at the construction site in the next three months.
Russia's state-owned atomic power company ROSATOM is likely to start building the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in 2013 and the first reactor is planned to generate electricity in 2018. Russia will build four 1,200 megawatt units on Akkuyu site, and run the power plant for 60 years. Turkish state-owned electricity corporation has guaranteed to buy a fixed amount of the plant's output over the first 15 years starting from initial commercial operation at a reported price of 12.35 US cents per kWh, with the rest of the electricity to be sold on the open market by the project company.