Turkey’s first nuclear plant kick-started by Erdoğan, Putin
Turkey and Russia launched construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant in the southern province of Mersin with a ceremony in the capital Ankara on April 3.
“The Akkuyu plant will become the 56th nuclear plant under construction in the world. When the first reactor of the Akkuyu plant is put into operation in 2023, Turkey will join the family of nuclear energy producers,” Erdoğan said.
“The distance we have covered in our relations with Russia in the last 15 years is very important,” he added, also referring to an agreement for Ankara to purchase long-range S-400 missile defense systems from Russia and the Turkstream natural gas pipeline project to transport Russian gas.
“We are not just kick-starting the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear plant, we are founding Turkey’s nuclear sector,” Putin said at the ceremony.
“We aim to produce the first energy unit in 2023. We will be doing so on the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. When all units are in operation, the nuclear plant will supply 10 percent of Turkey’s electricity demand,” he added.
License granted by TAEK
Turkey’s TAEK atomic energy authority on April 2 granted Russian builder Rosatom a construction license to start work on the first unit of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
“As a result of the construction license process, an important step in the project started nearly three years ago, being completed ... it has been decided by TAEK to grant a construction license for the construction of the first unit of the Akkuyu Nuclear Plant,” read a TAEK statement.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s approval for Gazprom’s onshore portion of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s second line is still pending, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on April 3.
“As for the onshore part, this is now at the discussion stage ... the [Russian and Turkish] companies are discussing the protocol,” Novak told reporters.
All permissions for the offshore part have been received and it is under construction, he added.
Rosatom looks for Turkish shareholders
Akkuyu nuclear plant will be built by Russia’s Rosatom on the Mediterranean coast for a price tag of $20 billion.
Rosatom holds a majority share in the plant with 51 percent. The remaining 49 percent stake was originally planned to be divided between a Turkish consortium of three contracting conglomerates under the name Cengiz-Kolin-Kalyon (CKK). However, Kolin and Kalyon recently decided to pull out of the project, citing an inability to agree on commercial terms.
Rosatom has said it is engaged in talks aiming to bring in Turkish state electricity producer EÜAŞ as a new shareholder in the project.
The plant will have a capacity of 4,800 megawatts in four units and a working life of 8,000 hours per year. In the first phase of the construction, two units with a capacity of 2,400 megawatts are planned.
Erdoğan will host Putin and Iranian counterpart Hasan Rouhani on April 4 to discuss the ongoing Astana and Sochi processes to bring an end to the conflict in Syria.