Turkey is keen to finalise a tender to build its controversial first nuclear power plant, ending a 30-year saga fraught with protests and cancellations.

Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said: “We will intensify our efforts to conclude work on the nuclear power plant tender. The government has decided to go ahead with the plant.” Turkish state electricity company TEAS will be the operator. TEAS said that technical assessment of the project has been completed.

An earthquake that killed 18 000 in northwest Turkey last August raised questions about the location of the plant, which some experts said lies near a seismic fault line. However, a housing ministry map suggests the site is in one of the safest locations in terms of exposure to earthquakes.