Japan, France firms to build Turkey nuclear plant

Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and France's Areva are expected to win a $22 billion contract to build a nuclear power plant in Turkey, a newspaper said Thursday.

Turkey's energy and natural resources ministry held talks with Japanese government and company officials in Ankara on Wednesday and told them of its readiness to place the order from the two firms, the Nikkei business daily said.

Under the expected order, Mitsubishi and Areva will build four pressurised water reactors with a combined output of 4.5 million kilowatts in Sinop on the Black Sea, the newspaper said.

Construction of the country's second nuclear power plant is to begin in 2017, with the first reactor coming on line by 2023, it said.

France's GDF Suez will operate the facility while a joint venture involving Japanese and Turkish companies will sell the power to local utilities, it added.

A Mitsubishi Heavy spokesman declined to confirm the report.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan may meet in Turkey in early May with plans to agree on the promotion of nuclear reactor construction, Nikkei said.

After the two governments sign the agreement, preferred negotiation rights will be officially awarded to the Mitsubishi-Areva alliance, the daily said.

Japanese, Chinese, South Korean and Canadian nuclear reactor makers had been competing for the project, but Turkey appeared to have given high marks to the Japanese team's technological prowess, reliability and price, it said.

The deal marks Japan's first successful public-private bid for an overseas nuclear plant project since its 2011 nuclear disaster and could build momentum for further nuclear technology exports, it said.

A huge tsunami crippled cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, sending reactors into meltdown, spewing radioactive materials into surrounding areas.