Why Turkey Is Looking To China For Its Nuclear Power Needs

Analysis: As bidding opens to foreign firms to build new nuclear facilities in Turkey, authorities in Ankara see immediate economic advantages to turning the projects over to Chinese firms. But blatant bypassing of more experienced European firms is also

Made-in-China nuclear facilities, like the Liangshan Yizu power plant, may soon be built in Turkey (CookieEvans5)
Made-in-China nuclear facilities, like the Liangshan Yizu power plant, may soon be built in Turkey (CookieEvans5)

ISTANBUL - The Turkish government recently signed a $20 billion project with Russia to build nuclear power facilities in Akkuyu, Turkey. Now the Turkish government has set its sights on constructing a nuclear plant in Sinop, Turkey. The Financial Times recently reported that China is the primary contender for this contract due to its ability to secure financing without requiring guarantees from the Turkish government.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited China last week, confirming reports of the deal when Energy Minister Tanir Yildiz held talks with Chinese authorities. At these meetings, Chinese Energy authority Liu Tienan pledged full financial guarantees for the $20 billion project.

China faced competition from two other countries for this project: Japan and South Korea. Japan's TEPCO pulled out of the auction citing protests from anti-nuclear activists following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. South Korea's firms have stayed in the running, but have announced that they can only accept the contract if the Turkish government guarantees against the risks of the project.

So this all leaves China in the driver's seat. The burgeoning Asian superpower recently won a contract to build a nuclear plant in South Africa under direction of the state-supported China National Nuclear and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation.

But this all begs the question as to why Turkey is only courting countries like China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan for nuclear energy services. If safety is the first concern, why has Turkey been ignoring more experienced European companies?

Turkey's bad attitude

The answer to this question has more to do with politics than economics. It seems that Turkey does not want to offer these large projects to Europe because of the deteriorating relations with the Old Continent. All this despite the fact that the most experienced nuclear energy companies are based in France and Germany.

Yet as long as these two countries continue their outspoken opposition to Turkish entry to the European Union, the chances for French or German firms to win any public bidding will remain slim. And now that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has passed a law outlawing denial of the Armenian genocide, the chances are close to nil for firms like Framatome, NPI, and Areva.

So what is the biggest risk associated with contracting China to build the next nuclear power plant?

For starters, China has yet to secure international confidence when it comes to constructing safe nuclear energy facilities. Chinese firms do not offer the same modern designs on foreign projects that they use in domestic plants because of intellectual property restrictions imposed by Western firms such as Westinghouse and Areva. This means that if China builds a plant in Turkey, it will be based on older models developed in China, not on the international state-of-the-art designs.

So Turkey should ask itself: do we really want a made-in-China nuclear power plant?

Read the original article in Turkish

Photo - CookieEvans5

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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