Sabah – Construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, the first of its kind in Turkey, has started in the country’s Mediterranean province of Mersin. Part of Turkey’s increasing efforts to reduce costly energy imports, the first of the plant’s four reactors – each capable of generating 1200 megawatts (MW) of power – will reach initial operational status by 2020.
The Akkuyu project will cost USD 22 billion and is being built by the Russian state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, employing the latest technologies and safety features.
Speaking at the ceremony, Turkish Minister of Energy Taner Yildiz highlighted the widespread use of nuclear energy around the world and Turkey’s need for self-sufficiency in electricity generation.
“Nuclear power plants account for 11 percent of global power generation. Had it been operational, the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant would have supplied 28 percent of Turkey’s total electricity demand and would have saved USD 14 billion from the import of fossil fuels in the last decade,” Yildiz noted.
Meanwhile, Head of Rosatom Sergei Kiriyenko said that the project was of strategic importance to Turkish-Russian relations. “We are open to working with Turkish firms in third countries, not only for the Akkuyu project,” he remarked.
Looking to diversify its sources of energy and reduce dependence on imports, Turkey plans to have three operational nuclear power plants by 2023. A French-Japanese consortium will build the country’s second nuclear power plant in Sinop on the country’s Black Sea coast, while a third plant is in the planning stage.