January 31, 2011 / 9:55 AM / in 7 years

Turkey targets 20 nuclear reactors by 2030-official

* 20 is minimum target, no formalised plan yet

* Russian firm to build Turkey’s first nuclear power station

* Turkey in talks with Toshiba, Japan govt for second plant

ANKARA, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Turkey wants to build 20 nuclear reactors by 2030 to produce electricity and reduce its reliance on oil and gas imports, a senior Energy Ministry official said.

Turkey has agreed with Russian nuclear company Rosatom to build its first nuclear power station on the Mediterranean and is in talks with Japan’s Toshiba (6502.T) and the Japanese government on building a second plant on the Black Sea.

“We want a minimum 20 reactors in operation by 2030. This may not be our formalised plan, but it is our target,” Energy Ministry Undersecretary Metin Kilci told Reuters on Friday.

Turkey has said it wants nuclear to eventually account for most of its power production. Natural gas now fires more than half of Turkish electricity plants.

The government wants to complete talks and prepare an agreement with Toshiba and Japanese officials by the end of March, Kilci said. The Turkish side has yet to decide whether the state will take a stake in the project, he said.

Talks will remain exclusive with the Japanese unless they prove fruitless, Kilci said.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz has said French utilities GDF Suez GSZ.PA and EDF (EDF.PA) are interested in building the Black Sea plant.

Separately, it is not yet clear whether Turkey will renew a contract with Russia’s Gazprom (GAZP.MM) to import 6 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas on a western pipeline because it has not decided whether the fuel is necessary, Kilci said.

Russia is Turkey’s biggest gas supplier and also sends 16 bcm on a second, bigger pipeline built under the Black Sea.

If Turkey does agree to renew the western pipeline contract, it may consider re-exporting the gas to Europe, he said. (Reporting by Orhan Coskun, writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; editing by James Jukwey)

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