Turkey-Japan talks on nuclear plant suspended

AFP , Sunday 10 Apr 2011

Angered environmentalists warn of seismic hazards in Turkey, as plans to build three nuclear power plants prevail

Greenpeace activists hold posters of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Energy Minister Taner Yildiz as thousands of people, mostly villagers from Turkey's Black Sea region, gathered to protest against the construction of nuclear energy plants and hydroelectric centrals over their rivers, saying the centrals will affect the ecosystems of rivers and their surrounding areas, which are rich in bio diversity and they will cause serious ecological problems. Villagers shouted 'Let Our River Flow!' (AP)

Ankara has temporarily suspended talks with Japan on building a nuclear plant in northern Turkey after Japan's nuclear disaster, Turkish Energy Minister, Taner Yildiz, said on Sunday.

"The negotiations were of course affected by the tsunami", the Anatolia news agency quoted Yildiz as saying, in reference to the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan's northeast coast and sparked a nuclear emergency.

According to Yildiz, Japan had asked for the talks to be suspended as it dealt with the nuclear crisis at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 plant, adding that he believed negotiations could resume in June.

Turkey, which is also earthquake-prone, announced last month that it was pressing ahead with plans to build its first nuclear plant, despite concerns raised by the disaster in Japan.

The Turkish government plans to build three nuclear power plants within five years.

It reached an agreement with Russia in May 2010 to build Turkey's first nuclear plant in Akkuyu in Mersin province in the south, angering environmentalists who warn of seismic hazards in the region.

In December, Turkey and Japan also signed a memorandum on civil nuclear co-operation, a step towards a possible $20 billion (15.4billion-euro) deal for Japanese companies to build a nuclear plant at Sinop, on Turkey's Black Sea coast.

The talks with Japan had initially been due to be completed by the end of March.

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