ECONOMY

Turkey plans to build three nuclear plants

ANKARA – Turkey is considering building up to three nuclear power plants, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said yesterday, indicating for the first time there are plans for more than one plant. «We are thinking about more than one plant, there are benefits to this. The figure will be around two or three,» Guler said in an interview with CNBC-e television. Guler revealed in May that Ankara was resurrecting its plans to build its first nuclear power plant after a similar project was halted previously over cost and environmental worries. Turkey tried two other times in the last 30 years to build a nuclear power station, but has canceled the tender each time. The previous government scrapped plans for a plant in southern Turkey in July 2000 after the Treasury refused to provide financing guarantees for the project. The Treasury said an International Monetary Fund loan accord ruled out such large guarantees. Turkey presently has a $19 billion IMF deal that expires early next year. The project also faced opposition from environmentalists claiming the site was too close to an earthquake fault line and worries it may stop tourists visiting the eastern Mediterranean. Guler did not say when the tender process would begin or what kind of technology Turkey might choose for the project. US firm Westinghouse Electric Co, Canada’s AECL and Franco-German Nucler Power International led the three consortiums taking part in the last tender.