Russia deal puts Turkey on path to become nuclear energy nation
Turkey moved closer to becoming a nuclear energy nation after inking a deal with visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to build a nuclear power plant on the Mediterranean coast.
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Sergei Kiriyenko, the chief of the Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom, said nuclear deal alone was “a very big contract” that could be worth $18 billion to $20 billion, according to Agence France-Presse. Russia would hold a controlling stake in the plant and operate it.Skip to next paragraph
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“Russia has never owned a nuclear power station outside its territory,” Mr. Kiriyenko said.
The nuclear power plant is to start in 2014 and take seven years to build in the coastal town of Akkuyu. It is not unlike the one Russia is building for Iran at Bushehr, which has taken more than a decade and faced repeated delays – some of them, Iran suspects, for political reasons.
The pipeline proposal, reported to be worth $3 billion, would bring Russian oil from Turkey’s Black Sea port of Samsun to a joint refinery on the Mediterranean at Ceyhan, which already links oil flows from Azerbaijan and Iraq. The deal would bypass the narrow Bosphorus at Istanbul, which is congested with tanker traffic, and would provide for both Turkey’s domestic and European markets.
Erdogan also spoke of Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project, which aims to provide Russian natural gas to Europe while bypassing Ukraine, though it is a rival to the European Union Nabucco pipeline, which Turkey also supports.
In the past year, Russia has become one of Turkey’s primary trading partners, at a volume worth $40 billion in 2008 and dipping – because of the global recession – to $22.9 billion in 2009. Russia already provides some 60 percent of Turkey’s natural gas.
One of the first orders of business during the Russian leader’s visit was an agreement to lift tourist visa restrictions between the two nations. More than 2 million Russians flock to Turkish resorts and beaches each year, often on package tours flying direct from Moscow and other Russian cities to Turkey’s sunny southern coast.
“It’s a historical agreement that will before anything else ease the life of millions of people,” Medvedev said.
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