Japan, France set to win Turkish nuclear plant deal

A consortium of Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and France's Areva are on track to win a deal to build a $20 billion nuclear power station in Turkey, a report said on Wednesday.

The top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo would likely sign the deal with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a visit to Turkey next week as part of a four-nation trip that ends on May 4.

A Mitsubishi Heavy spokesman declined comment on the Yomiuri report Wednesday, while an official in the Japanese trade ministry's nuclear energy policy division was not immediately available to comment.

Japan is increasingly looking abroad to grow its nuclear power business after demand fell away at home in the wake of the Fukushima atomic crisis two years ago.

An earlier report said the Turkish project would see four pressurised water reactors with a combined output of 4.5 million kilowatts built on the Black Sea coast.

Construction of the plant is slated to begin in 2017, with the first reactor coming online by 2023, Japan's leading Nikkei business daily has reported.

Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said this month it was too early to declare a winner to build the project, amid reports the Franco-Japanese group had clinched it. Yildiz added that "we are currently holding talks with China and Japan".

"I can say Japan's claims are premature and the race is still continuing," he said in a televised interview.

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