Turkey to press on with nuclear plans: PM

AFP , Wednesday 16 Mar 2011

Turkey will press on with its plans to build its first nuclear power plant, despite being situated in an earthquake zone and despite Japan's nuclear accident

"We are now counting the months, even weeks, before we start our project with Russia for the nuclear plant at Akkuyu," on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said late Tuesday during a visit to Moscow

Erdogan told a forum of Russian and Turkish business leaders that "everything is ready" for construction to begin on the plant.

"We are going to commit to a nuclear programme, with an investment worth 20 billion dollars (14.3 billion euros)," the Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying.

Before leaving Ankara for the visit, the prime minister said the government would not go back on its decision to build a total of three nuclear plants within the next five years, despite the crisis in Japan. "There is no investment without risk," Erdogan said.

Ankara and Moscow signed a deal in May last year to build the first nuclear reactor, sparking protests from environmentalists who warned of the dangers of locating it in a region well known for seismic activity.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Turkey had demanded that extra security measures be taken in building the plant, given its location.

Turkey suffered a massive earthquake on 1998 which killed 140 people in Adana, its fifth largest city, close to Mersin, the province where the nuclear power plant is to be built.

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