Turk parliament OK’s law for nuclear plants

ANKARA (AFP) – The Turkish parliament on Tuesday adopted a law setting a legal framework for the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plants, the Anatolia news agency reported. The legislation authorizes the energy ministry to run and finalize the tender for the construction of the plants and also to decide on their capacity and location. It says public institutions will be allowed to construct the plants if there is no interest from the private sector. The law adds that firms licensed to sell electricity will be able to purchase the power generated by the plants through 15-year agreements. The Turkish government has said that it plans to build three nuclear power plants with a total capacity of about 5,000 megawatts to become operational in 2012 in a bid to prevent a possible energy shortage and reduce dependence on foreign energy supplies. But the plan and the possible site of the reactor – Sinop, a coastal city on the Black Sea, 435 kilometers (270 miles) northeast of Ankara – have triggered protests from residents and environmentalists. Turkey had abandoned earlier plans to build a nuclear power plant in July 2000 amid financial difficulties and protests from environmentalists in Turkey and neighboring Greece and Cyprus. Opponents argued that the proposed site – Akkuyu, on the Mediterranean coast – was only 25 kilometres (15 miles) from a seismic faultline.