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Tuesday, June 21, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Turkish engineers set for nuke training in Russia

ANKARA — Russia plans to train hundreds of Turkish nationals to operate a nuclear reactor.


Officials said Russia's state-owned Atomstroyexport has been contracted to train at least 300 Turkish students in nuclear engineering. They said the training was part of a $1 billion project for Russia to construct and operate Turkey's first nuclear energy reactor.

"It is of utmost importance for Turkish students to receive nuclear engineering education in Russia, in order to establish nuclear culture," Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said.

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Officials said the Turkish students would eventually be employed as engineers and technicians at the planned nuclear reactor at Akuyu along the Black Sea. They said the Turks would work with Russian staffers at Akuyu, expected to be a 1,200 megawatt energy facility.

"Rumors that [only] Russians will work at the Akuyu nuclear plant have thus been proven untrue," Yildiz said on June 16. "We will learn to do this."

Under the agreement, the Turks would receive scholarships to study for at least one year at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. The first batch of 50 students was scheduled to leave for Moscow in September.

Officials said the Turkish cadets must commit to working at Akuyu for at least 13 years. They said the cadets would receive the same salaries as that of their Russian colleagues.

Turkey plans to establish another nuclear energy reactor in Sinop. So far, Ankara has held talks with Japan and South Korea, the latter of which was already nixed as a potential contractor.

"We have received no word from the Japanese," Yildiz said.

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