Monday, November 12, 2007

Turkey takes major step to join the nuclear power club

Turkey has taken a major step to join the "peaceful nuclear club" approving a law that set the gudelines to set up a nuclear power industry. But experts say this may have militrary dividends in the future...

Overriding stiff objections from environmentalists and opposition parties, the Turkish parliament has passed a bill fixing the legal framework for the country's first nuclear power plants.

Legislators amended several technical provisions in the original draft, which former president Ahmet Necdet Sezer had vetoed in May. The legislation authorizes the Energy Ministry to run and finalize tenders for the construction of nuclear power plants and decide on their capacity and location.

It also provides for public institutions to build the plants if there is no interest from the private sector.

The bill now needs the approval of President Abdullah Gul, who took office in August.

Turkey has said it plans to build three nuclear 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.

(This will supply roughly double the amount of electricity as the HydroAysen Project: The HydroAysen Project - Damming the Pascua & Baker Rivers in Patagonia, Chile – Perspective, Background, Facts & Motivation )

The law, which was approved by lawmakers, stipulates that companies willing to establish and run a nuclear power plant must meet the requirements set down by Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK).

After passage of the law, Turkish Electricity Trade & Contract Corporation (TETAS) will open a tender for construction of nuclear power plants.

The companies willing to bid for the tender are not required to have licence, which will be issued after winning the tender and before the start of the project.

In accordance with the law, TETAS will buy all the energy produced in nuclear power plants.

This is Ankara's fifth attempt at launching a nuclear program. Most of the previous efforts failed on environmental grounds (most of Turkey lies in seismically active zones), but this attempt is likely to succeed because Turkey's world has changed greatly of late -- and Turkey is changing with it.

Here is the full article.