Turkey, S.Korea agree on joint construction of Sinop nuclear power plant
Turkey and South Korea yesterday signed a deal to jointly construct a nuclear energy plant in the Black Sea province of Sinop. "We have to produce at least 10 percent of our energy from nuclear power plants by 2020," Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz said during the signing ceremony at a meeting of the Turkish-South Korean Business Forum in Istanbul. Turkey's Enka and South Korea's Kepco will make a joint bid to build the plant. The two companies agreed to form a 50-50 venture to construct the 5,600-megawatt plant. In related news, Turkey and South Korea will launch negotiations for a free trade agreement by the end of this month with a view to tripling bilateral trade. Speaking to the forum, Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) head Umit Boyner said discussions will start next week during the visit of South Korea's trade minister to Turkey. The first round of negotiations for the agreement will start on April 26, and the negotiations are expected to be completed by the end of 2010. Turkey and South Korea have an annual trade volume of some $3.3 billion, largely in South Korea's favor. Trade stood at $4.3 billion in 2008 but fell due to the global economic crisis. Boyner said there is a need to strengthen bilateral trade but in a more balanced manner. "Private partnerships will contribute to the strengthening of economic ties," she said. "South Korea is a very strong knowledge-based economy with strengths in energy, information technology, and biotechnology. Energy is one of the key areas of cooperation where solar energy, power, hydropower and geothermal energy projects offer opportunities for Korean firms in Turkey." She added that the two countries could also cooperate in the area of research and development. Young Hak Kim, South Korea's vice minister for trade and energy, said many of his country's firms are interested in finding Turkish partners. "There is a growing demand for energy in Turkey, and in Korea we have a long reliance on nuclear power," he said. "Turkish and Korean firms could cooperate on Turkey's nuclear energy infrastructure."