Turkey’s first nuclear power plant project enters uncertain period amid Syria row

Turkey’s first nuclear power plant project enters uncertain period amid Syria row

Neşe Karanfil - ANKARA
Turkey’s first nuclear power plant project enters uncertain period amid Syria row

DHA photo

Uncertainties are rising over controversial nuclear power plant project in Turkey’s Akkuyu, for which Russia has spent $3 billion so far, amid rows between Turkey and Russia over Syria. While the Russian side says the project’s financing is secured until 2017 and has maintained activities on the site a lack of required construction licenses, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent comments about the issue have raised eyebrows. 

“If the Russians do not build Mersin Akkuyu, then somebody else will come and build it,” Erdoğan said late Oct. 6, en route to Tokyo, referring to a nuclear power plant to be built by Russia in Akkuyu of the Mersin province, based on an intergovernmental agreement between Moscow and Ankara. 

After these developments, several questions have been raised about what lies ahead for the project, which Russia has spent around $3 billion on, although the required licenses have not been issued yet. 

The process for the project started in 2010 after an intergovernmental agreement was signed between Turkey and Russia for the construction of the nuclear power plant. The Akkuyu NGS was then established at the end of 2010 to build the power plant, which will be composed of four units of the VVER-1200 type with an installed power of 4,800 MW. 

Akkuyu NGS General Manager Fuad Akhundov said the company has so far invested $3 billion in the project and has secured funding until 2017. 

“Our production license has not been granted yet but we will continue our investments because we trust the Turkish economy,” he said at a meeting with a number of journalists weeks ago. 

The company applied to take the required construction permits to the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) a while ago. The granting these licenses may take 1.5-2 years, according to officials. The company has continued to run its operations, like acquiring turbines. 

Akhundov said the costs of any delays in the project will be met by Russia, but it is not clear what will happen in the case of a cancelation.

Former energy minister says doesn’t think nuke plant project to run into risk 

Former Energy Minister Taner Yıldız has said he does not think the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project, being constructed by a Russian state company, will run into any risks amid bilateral tension between Moscow and Ankara.

“I don’t think the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project will run into any risks. But even if it does, the party that will lose money will be Russia,” Yıldız said in Kayseri, upon a question about the possible effects of recent rows between Turkey and Russia on energy ties. 

He noted that the both countries had signed “serious agreements” for the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, which is currently being undertaken by Russia’s Rosatom. 

“Both countries should maintain their relations for the better,” Yıldız stressed.