Turkish court paves way for nuclear power tender

Friday, March 7, 2008

ANKARA, March 6 (Reuters) - Turkey's Constitutional Court rejected on Thursday a request by opposition parties to cancel a government plan to build the country's first nuclear power plant, paving the way for a tender process in the coming days.

The court's presiding judge, Hasim Kilic, told Reuters the court vetoed an article in the law that would have allowed foreign staff to be employed by the Turkish Atomic Institution, a move that may irk foreign companies planning to bid.

Turkey is expected to launch a tender for the nuclear power plant within nine days, delayed from the original date of Feb. 21.

The project is one of several ways in which the government plans to boost energy production to keep pace with rapidly growing demand against a background of strong economic growth.

The government has identified Sinop on the Black Sea as a possible site for a nuclear plant. As licence work on that has not been completed, the site of Akkuyu at Mersin on the Mediterranean, which already has a licence, could be chosen if the private sector prefers.

Turkey has conducted legal work on building three nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 5,000 MW (megawatts).

Among companies that have shown an interest in building a nuclear power plant in Turkey are local conglomerates Sabanci Holding and Koc Holding.

Energy-to-construction company Enka Insaat said in January it had agreed with Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) to work together on nuclear energy in Turkey.

Zorlu Enerji has said it was in talks with several large firms on building a nuclear power plant in Turkey. (Reporting by Orhan Coskun, editing by Anthony Barker)

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