Turkey, US in talks on nuclear plant projects, Turkish official says

FILE PHOTO: The Turkish flag flies at the Embassy of Turkey in Washington

By Can Sezer

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is holding talks with the United States on the construction of large-scale nuclear power plants and small modular reactors (SMR), a senior Turkish Energy Ministry official said on Tuesday.

"The USA is showing serious interest in Turkey's goal of increasing its nuclear energy capacity and building new power plants," the official Yusuf Ceylan told Reuters at a conference on nuclear power plants.

Asked about the projects under discussion, he said: "We can consider the areas of existing power plants or new power plants."

"We are negotiating with the USA for both large-scale power plants and small modular reactors. This is a statement of intent," he said.

Jeff Flake, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, told Reuters last month that Ankara "talked to us and others about (building) small modular reactors".

"We're working with them to try to lessen their dependency (on Russia) in whatever ways we can," he added.

Ceylan said negotiations continued with South Korea and Russia for a second nuclear power plant planned to be built in the Black Sea region of Sinop, and with China's SPIC for a third nuclear power plant in northwest Turkey's Thrace region.

The construction of Turkey's first 4,800 MW nuclear power plant by Russia's Rosatom is continuing at Akkuyu in Turkey's Mediterranean region.

Turkey plans to build three four-reactor nuclear plants and complement them with SMRs for a total of 20,000 MW generation capacity to diversify its electricity production mix.

(Reporting by Can Sezer, additional reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Barbara Lewis)