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Japan signs deal with Turkey to build nuclear plant

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Sat May 4, 2013
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, right, and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan review an honor guard in Ankara on May 3.
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, right, and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan review an honor guard in Ankara on May 3.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Japan and Turkey agree a $22 billion contract for a nuclear reactor
  • The reactor will be built in Turkey's northern Sinop province, on the Black Sea
  • Turkey's prime minister says technology has advanced since Japan's Fukushima disaster
  • Turkey, like Japan, is in an active earthquake zone

(CNN) -- Turkey and Japan have agreed to a $22 billion deal to build a nuclear power plant in Turkey, the semi-official Turkish news agency Anadolu reported.

The deal, signed Friday, represents a step toward recovery for Japan's nuclear industry, left reeling by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that triggered a disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking at a joint news conference, said the deal would place relations between the two nations on a different level.

Japanese and French companies lead the consortium which will deliver the contract signed by the two governments.

The third-generation ATMEA1 reactor will be built in Turkey's northern Sinop province, which borders the Black Sea, said GDF SUEZ, part of the consortium.

Erdogan said lessons had been learned from the Fukushima disaster, the worst nuclear accident in a generation.

"After the Fukushima incident, people said negative things about Japanese technology," Erdogan said, quoted by Anadolu.

But, he said, in response to that criticism he drew a parallel with what happens after an air crash. "We should consider there is a risk of accident, but we need that technology. With an advanced technology we will take better steps."

Turkey, like Japan, is in an active earthquake zone.

The two prime ministers said they hoped it would take less than a decade to complete the project.

The two countries have also agreed to found a Turkish-Japanese Technical University in Turkey, Anadolu reported, with plans to follow up with a Japan-based counterpart in the future.

"A step like this between Turkey and Japan is really important," said Erdogan.

The tsunami that hit Fukushima Daiichi after Japan's historic earthquake knocked out power and coolant systems at the plant, resulting in meltdowns in three reactors.

The result was the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl, as the crippled reactors spewed enormous amounts of radioactive particles into the environment.

CNN's Bharati Naik and Saad Abedine contributed to this report.

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