Turkey's Energy Minister, Ali Riza Alaboyun has announced that Turkey is considering to build its third nuclear plant in an effort to diversify its energy sources, plant is being planned to be built in Igneada region of the Kirklareli province, which is located in the European part of the country.
Alaboyun said, “We have signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese [firms] and the US-based Westinghouse corporation,” speaking to Anadolu Agency on Oct. 14, concerning the plans of the construction of the nuclear plant.
Turkish Energy Ministry has also been assessing various propositions made by other companies, stating that the Japanese have a special interest in the project.
“We wish that the technology of the third nuclear plant is same as the previous projects," Alaboyun stated.
Igneada is a Turkish town in the Demirkoy district of the Kirklareli province with a population of 2,082 people. The town is a three-hour drive from Istanbul and has a 22 kilometre beach, which is situated on the Black Sea.
Turkey’s two other nuclear plant projects are being developed by Russian and Japanese firms and are still under construction.
Akkuyu is Turkey’s first nuclear power plant project, it is being built in the southern province of Mersin and is operated by Rosatom, which is the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation.
Russia is planning to finance the plant, which is valued at $22 billion. The construction will begin in 2016 and the planned four reactors will become fully operational in 2023, according to the agreement signed in 2010 between the countries.
Japanese Toshiba, which is assigned to build Turkey’s second nuclear power plant in northern Black Sea province of Sinop, has announced on Oct. 8 that they are ready to take a new nuclear plant initiative for Turkey if the country wishes.
Japanese willingness has come forward after Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a notice to the Russians saying that the country puts its formidable relations with Turkey in danger with their Syrian intervention, at a press conference in Brussels on Oct. 6.
Turkey-Russia relations have been tense since Russian jets violated Turkish airspace near the Syrian border on Oct. 3, during their air strikes against anti-Assad groups in the country, elucidating strong protests from Turkey, US, and the NATO alliance.
Turkey and Russia disagree with each others policies regarding the Syrian civil war. Turkey and US have consistently defended their view that the Assad regime has to go and are backing opposition groups, while Russia has supported the regime since the beginning of the conflict.
However, Alaboyun has underlined in his interview that Turkey “has no problem with Russia regarding energy issues,” stating that Erdogan’s comments to the press concerning Turkey’s energy partnership with Russia, have been taken out of context and misinterpreted.
He also emphasised that Turkey has two main negotiation issues with Russia, which are gas price revision and the Turkish Stream pipeline project, which was jointly initiated, but has recently been halted by the countries.
“The two issues could never have been interrelated to each other,” he added, dismissing Russian efforts to connect the two topics.
Although Turkey is Russian state-run natural gas company Gazprom’s second biggest export market after Germany, the country could not get the same price as Germany from the Russians, which is what Turkey has requested from Russia, the energy minister pointed out.
He has also criticised Russia, saying that the country has not pursued a decisive agenda concerning the Turkish Stream project.
Gazprom Deputy Chairman, Alexander Medvedev announced in mid-September that the Turkish Stream pipeline project will not be implemented by the end of 2016, as it has previously been planned, because of continuing disagreements between Turkey and Russia.
In addition, Gazprom’s top manager Alexei Miller recently announced that the company will provide Turkey two billion cubic metres of gas through Turkish Stream pipeline, which is currently not a working project, rather than Ankara’s request of additional three billion cubic metres through the Blue Stream pipeline.
Alaboyun said Turkey has not closed the doors to the Russians concerning the project and that the negotiations between the countries will continue in parallel to the proper Russian response.