Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan today attended via videolink from Ankara a ceremony to mark the pouring of first safety-related concrete for unit 1 of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. Putin arrived today for a two-day working visit to the Turkish capital.

Putin and Erdogan in Ankara today (Image: Turkish presidential website)

The Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) yesterday awarded a construction licence for Akkuyu NPP, Turkey's first nuclear power plant, which is being built in Mersin province, in southern Turkey.

The USD20 billion project to build the four-unit, 4800 MWe plant is part of Erdogan's '2023 Vision' marking 100 years since the founding of modern Turkey and is intended to reduce the country's dependence on energy imports. The first unit is scheduled to start operations that year, with the other three units following by 2025. The plant is expected to meet about 10% of Turkey's electricity needs.

Erdogan noted that, between 2003 and 2017, the Turkish economy had grown on average by 5.8%, and last year alone by 7.4%. As the country strives to become one of the ten richest countries in the world, energy supplies will be "crucial" and the new nuclear power plant "of great importance", he added.

"Currently, 31 countries produce a significant amount of electricity from 450 nuclear power plants. Also, in 16 countries, 55 nuclear power plants are under construction. And today we can say that the Akkuyu power station, the foundation of which we are laying today, is the 56th," he said.

"In 2023, we will put into operation the first unit and Turkey will thereby join those countries that use nuclear energy … On the anniversary of our republic, we will crown this work with success."

More than 500 people attended the ceremony to launch construction (Image: Rosatom)

Putin said: "We have an ambitious task - to launch the first power unit in 2023, timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey. Together with my dear friend Recep Tayyip Erdogan, we have agreed that we will do everything in order to fulfill this task.

"I am confident that the joint coordinated work of Russian and Turkish specialists will enable meeting all the schedules on time. And the successful implementation of this project will be a symbol of the dynamic, progressive development of Russian-Turkish interaction and partnership, Russian-Turkish friendship."

Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachov said in a statement the Russian state nuclear corporation issued today: "Rosatom is building in Turkey a cutting edge, tried and tested (Generation III+) nuclear power plant featuring four power units based on the Russian VVER-1200 design which meets the world's highest safety standards.

"The model we are building at Akkuyu is already being built in a series. Unit 6 of Novovoronezh NPP and unit 1 of Leningrad NPP II, based on the same design, are already up and running, with the former in a commercial operation and the latter launched in February. The safe and efficient operation of these units underscores the reliability of our technologies."


Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency quoted a TAEK statement announcing the application process for a construction licence for the Akkuyu project that had started three years ago had been completed.

Turkey formally launched construction of its first nuclear power plant with the pouring of concrete for the sub-base foundation of the nuclear island late last year. A ceremony held at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant site to mark the launch on 10 December followed the issuance of a limited construction permit. Rosatom said then that it expected to receive a construction licence in March, after which first safety-related concrete for the plant will be laid. This would be the official start of the Akkuyu plant's construction, it said.

JSC Akkuyu Nuklear, the Russian-owned company responsible for the project, announced yesterday that it had been designated as a strategic investor.

"A renewed 'Strategic Investment' certificate was issued to JSC Akkuyu Nuclear following the company's submission of an application to Turkey's Ministry of Economy. The certificate was issued on the basis of the law 'On amendments to the law on taxation, certain laws and regulations in the status of law', which came into force on 27 March 2018 after being approved by the Turkish parliament, the Mejlis," the company said.

"Granting of the certificate is of major importance to the economics of the project. In particular, it provides for tax reductions and exemptions (including from income tax and value added tax), as well as custom duties exemption," it added.

Created in 2010, JSC Akkuyu Nuklear is a 100% owned subsidiary of JSC Rusatom Energo International (REIN), which is itself a subsidiary of Rosatom. REIN was established in 2011 to promote Russian nuclear technologies on the global market.

Rosatom has said it is looking for local partners to take a 49% stake in the project company, but the Interfax news agency recently cited Likhachov as saying the sale was likely to be postponed from this year to 2019. Rosatom has also said the project offers significant opportunities for Turkish suppliers, with about 35-40% of all construction work - with a value of USD6-8 billion - to be conducted by them.

The Akkuyu NPP project is based on an inter-governmental agreement signed between Russia and Turkey in May 2010. In October 2011, JSC Akkuyu Nuclear received a site licence and in November 2013 its site report received approval.

Russia is using a build-own-operate model for the project, whereby it provides the financing, operation and management of the plant.

The Kremlin said the two heads of state would also take part today in the seventh meeting of the Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council, which will examine the development of bilateral trade and economic cooperation, the implementation of joint strategic projects, in particular in the energy sector, as well as current regional and international affairs.

Russia's energy minister, Alexander Novak, told the Anadolu news agency yesterday that construction of the Akkuyu plant was on schedule.

"Our company was waiting for a construction licence and now we have received information that permission will be given," Novak was quoted as saying.

Novak also commented on another Russia-Turkey energy project - the TurkStream dual pipeline that will aim to transport 15.75 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Europe.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Date: Tuesday, 03 April 2018
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