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Turkey tries at nuclear again

ANKARA, Turkey, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Turkey has plans to hold bidding for construction of its first nuclear plant.

The Turkey Electricity Trade Corp., or TETAS, announced it will hold tender Wednesday in its fourth attempt to build a nuclear plant that has faced large amounts of opposition. The plant is planned for the Akkuyu region of the southern province of Mersin, Hurriyet reported.

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TETAS said in order to meet the country's goals of reducing dependence on foreign energy and meeting increasing energy demand, nuclear plants are necessary. The country currently imports about 67 percent of its oil and gas supply, and its energy demand is expected to increase about 8 percent each year.

Turkish leaders hope to generate at least 8 percent of the country's electricity demand through nuclear power generation by 2020 and 20 percent by 2030. The first plant is expected to have a capacity of 4,000 megawatts.

Recent global economic concerns have slowed the process, and foreign bidders have showed extra caution in making such a financial commitment, Turkish leaders said. TETAS will suspend the tender again if no company submits a bid.

So far companies including General Electric, Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Spanish utility Iberdrola SA, Korean Electric Power Corp., Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Japan's Itochu Corp., Suez-Tractebel and Russian state firm Atomstroyexport reportedly have expressed interest.

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