Limb Jae-un Korea JoongAng Daily
Turkish minister opens door after Japan deal falls through.
It’s thought that Korea is going to get another shot at securing a $2 billion contract to build a nuclear power plant in Turkey after Japan pulled out of the deal on July 28.
During a visit to Korea last week, Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan signaled that the country is looking for alternative partners to build the plant. But the Ministry of Knowledge Economy confirmed that talk of the project was absent during Minister Choi Joong-kyung’s meeting with Caglayan.
Later, Caglayan was quoted by Turkish journalists as saying that other countries are welcome to participate in the nuclear project. The 5GW power plant will be constructed in the Black Sea region of Sinop.
The two countries have not officially resumed negotiations since Turkey chose Japan as the priority negotiating partner on Dec. 23, 2010.
On Dec. 28, Turkey’s Ambassador to Korea Erdogan Iscan said that Ankara did not shelve the “Korean file” even though it started formal negotiations with Japan.
Korea and Japan competed for the deal, but negotiations between Korea and Turkey hit a snag last year over prices. Turkey wanted a deal that would come with project financing, in which a builder recoups its investment through electricity fees, but the two nations disagreed over the price of electricity.
The Knowledge Economy Ministry played down the comments by the Turkish economy minister.
“That’s only ordinary rhetoric,” said Kang Gyeong-seong, director of nuclear power industry division of the ministry. “There has been no change in the contentious issues.”
However, the government seems to be positioning itself to make another bid. Last week, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance laid out plans to improve the country’s ability to provide long-term financing for expensive overseas projects such as building nuclear power plants and high-speed railroad systems.
There have been concerns that Korea’s financial institutions lacked the ability to finance such large deals.
Under the plans, Korea Finance Corp. will be able to offer up to 10 trillion won ($9.4 billion) over the next five years to help Korean companies secure large overseas projects.
The Turkey nuclear project calls for the construction of four reactors.
In addition, the Export-Import Bank of Korea intends to increase its capital by 1.1 trillion won and raise the portion of mid- to long-term financing to 32 percent of its total lending by 2013.