Russia agrees to construct Turkish nuclear reactor

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Russian and Turkish governments today signed an agreement that would lead to Russia building a US$20 billion nuclear power plant in Turkey, the country's first.

The plant will be built on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and construction will commence as soon as the deal is approved by both countries; the building process is expected to take around seven years. The reactor will also be owned by Russia, which will hold "no less than a controlling stake," according to Sergey Kiriyenko, who is the head of Rosatom, a Russian nuclear energy corporation.

The reactor to be built is the second proposed power plant in the same location; a separate proposal for a four-reactor complex built by a Russian-led consortium was rejected by a Turkish court last year. Russia has attempted to build a nuclear power plant in Turkey, and the contract signed Wednesday "really looks rather impressive," according to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The contract for the reactor was one of 20 signed by the two countries today, expected to result in around US$25 billion of Russian investment in Turkey. Other major contracts signed include projects to transport Russian oil and natural gas through Turkey to ports on the Mediterranean Sea. One such project is a major pipeline between the Turkish ports of Samsun on the Black Sea and Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea, built in conjunction with an oil refinery in Ceyhan.

In a press conference, Russian President Medvedev said that the agreements signal "a new page in our cooperation...Our talks today showed that Turkey and Russia are strategic partners not only in words but in deeds." Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that the two countries "share a determination to increase the trade volume from a current US$38 billion to US$100 billion in five years."