Russian energy giant gets go-ahead .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ANKARA - Turkey’s Atomic Energy Agency approves the bid from a Russian-led consortium to build Turkey’s first nuclear plant. The state power provider is also expected to give the next nod.

In a landmark decision, Turkey's Atomic Energy Agency, or TAEK, approved a Russian-led consortium’s technical proposals for the construction of the country’s first nuclear plant Friday, completing the second phase of the tender.

"The certificate of conformity was issued and sent to TETAŞ," said TAEK in a written statement. TETAŞ is the state power generator.

In the third and final phase, TETAŞ will make a final technical decision as to whether or not to move ahead with the tender after discussing the consortium’s proposals about plant production levels and the proposed sale prices of electricity generated at the plant. According to officials, TETAŞ will convene in the coming days and open the third envelope submitted by the consortium and announce its decision. In the case of TETAŞ’s approval, the tender will be finalized by Cabinet.

The consortium, led by Russia’s state-run Atomstroyexport together with Inter RAO and Turkish Park Teknik, was the sole bidder in a tender to build and operate the country's first nuclear power plant. At the beginning of November, TAEK asked the consortium to clarify technical issues. According to TAEK criteria, nuclear power plants must be compatible with international institutions’ criteria, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The tender was described as disappointing by some analysts, because a number of foreign and local companies that had previously expressed interest did not submit bids, making the Russian consortium the sole bidder.

Turkey plans to build three nuclear power plants as part of efforts to reduce a costly dependence on energy imports.