Turkish coal power plant bill sent to PM

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s Energy Ministry has sent a draft law on the privatization of coal-fired power stations to the prime minister’s office, the minister said yesterday, announcing a key stage in the sale process. Turkey’s privatization program has gathered pace sharply in recent years, backed by an International Monetary Fund loan accord, drawing in large amounts of foreign investment that has helped to modernize local industry. But this process has so far not extended to the country’s coal-fired power stations. «We have prepared a draft law on the privatization of coal-fired power stations and forwarded it to the prime minister’s office,» Energy Minister Hilmi Guler told a news conference. «Once the necessary work has been completed there, the bill will be sent to parliament,» he said, without giving further details on the sell-off plans. Separately, Guler said the technology used in planned nuclear power stations in Turkey would be tried and tested, but it would not be old technology. Industry sources said his remarks suggested neither Canada nor France would win the business, as Canada used old technology and France was developing technology that had not been tried and tested. Speaking at the same meeting, Turkish Atomic Energy Authority Chairman Okay Cakiroglu said land in the Mersin Akkuyu region was ready for the construction of a nuclear plant. Work on licensing the Black Sea region of Sinop for the same purpose was expected to be completed by the end of this year, he said. The government is expected to announce the tender conditions on February 21 for a nuclear power plant expected to have a capacity of 4,000 megawatts. Construction of the nuclear plant is targeted to begin this year. A previous tender had been canceled when no companies bid under conditions that did not include a purchasing guarantee for electricity generated by the plant. Last November President Abdullah Gul approved a law allowing the construction and operation of nuclear power plants.