Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachev, who attended a ceremony to mark concrete pouring, said the “flagship” four-unit Akkuyu nuclear station is the company’s largest project with construction taking place at four units simultaneously.
Fatih Dönmez, Turkey’s energy and natural resources minister, said Akkuyu is the largest one-time investment in the country’s history. When completed, the four reactors will meet 10% of Turkey’s electricity demand.
The licence for the construction of the Akkuyu-4 was issued by the Turkish Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NDK) in October 2021.
This week’s concrete pouring was preceded by preparatory work which included dewatering, excavation of a basement pit, installation of a concrete cushion and waterproofing, reinforcement of the basement and installation of embedded parts.
The height of the concreting will be 2.6 metres with 17,000 cubic metres of concrete mix laid down.
The $20bn Akkuyu is being built near Mersin on the country’s southern Mediterranean coast by Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom under a contract signed in 2010.
The station will have four Generation III+ VVER-1200 units, with the first expected to come online in 2023 and a further unit starting every year afterwards.
Turkey has ambitious plans to build 12 large nuclear reactors at three sites, but these still might still not be enough as the country seeks to increase energy security and further reduce its imports of natural gas from Russia, deputy energy and natural resources minister Alparslan Bayraktar told Nikkei Asia (subscription) recently.
He said the country needs more reactors because the 12 already under construction or planned “will not be enough if we consider the 2050-70s”.
He said Turkey is also considering the deployment of small modular reactors. He told Nikkei that Marisa Lago, the US Commerce Department’s undersecretary for international trade, and the new US ambassador to Turkey Jeffry Flake visited him to discuss the potential introduction of SMR technology to Turkey.