4 May 2013

Japan wins deal to build nuclear plant in Turkey

6:00 pm on 4 May 2013

The Turkish government has signed a deal with a Japanese-French consortium to build a new nuclear power station.

It's Japan's first successful bid for an overseas nuclear project since the March 2011 tsunami wrecked the Fukushima power station.

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the deal - signed by visiting Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe - will transform relations with Japan into a "strategic partnership".

"What happened at Fukushima upset all of us," Mr Erdogan says. "But these things can happen. Life goes on. Successful steps are being taken now with the use of improved technology."

There has been a concerted effort to promote Japanese nuclear technologies abroad, despite concerns over safety.

The consortium in this case includes Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, one of the companies behind the Fukushima plant.

Turkey is also prone to earthquakes, and the government cited Japan's expertise in earthquake protection as one of the factors in signing the deal.

The other firms are Itochu Corporation and French utility group GDF Suez.

The new nuclear plant will be Turkey's second. It is currently dependent on imported oil and gas to meet 97% of its energy needs.