Turkey will advance its nuclear program by building three nuclear power plants by the year of 2023 despite the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, a Turkish expert said Friday at the International Nuclear Technology Transfer Congress.
Addressing more than 100 Turkish and foreign academicians, politicians and scientists, Suleyman Sensoy, the president of Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies, said that Turkey plans to build three nuclear power plants for the nation's development program by 2023.
"By 2023, Turkey aims to become one of the top 10 economies in the world," Sensoy said.
At present, 80 percent of Turkey's energy depends on foreign countries, which greatly affects Turkey's independent economy growth. Thus, Turkey aims to develop its own nuclear plants with technology cooperation with other countries, he said.
"Nuclear energy is going to meet 10 percent of Turkey's energy demand by the year of 2023," Sensoy said.
Turkey presently has no nuclear power plants. However, in August 2006, the Turkish Government announced its plan to have three nuclear power plants with total capacity of 4,500 MWe ( megawatts electrical), operating by 2012-2015.
The program was delayed due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 and the government is more prudent on the nuclear power program.
Necmi Dayday, a Turkish nuclear physicist and a retired International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards inspector, said at the congress that Turkey would miss its chance if it neglects developing nuclear power.
"The lack of human resource and infrastructure support are the biggest obstacles of Turkey's nuclear strategy." he said.
Necati Yamac, head of Nuclear Project Implementation Department of Turkey's Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, told Xinhua that China would be a great strategic partner for Turkey in nuclear plant construction and technology transfer.
During Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's official visit to China in April, Turkey and China signed a series of cooperation agreements on peaceful utilization of nuclear power and nuclear energy cooperation.
On Thursday, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said Turkey was in negotiation with countries such as China, Japan, South Korea and Canada to construct a nuclear power plant in Turkey's Black Sea province of Sinop.
Yildiz said proposals of these countries were being completed but one of them would drop out of the competition by the end of September, adding that Turkey's economic growth and its energy consumption required nuclear power plants to be built.
Turkey had already sealed an agreement with Russia for the construction of the country's first nuclear plant in the Akkuyu region of the Mediterranean port city of Mersin.
A Russian state nuclear company is expected to begin constructing Akkuyu plant in 2013 with the construction of four nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts. The plant is estimated to cost at least 20 billion US dollars.