The Akkuyu nuclear power plant (NPP) in TurkiyeInternationalIndiaAfricaRussian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will open the ceremony for loading nuclear fuel at the Akkuyu NPP built by Russia’s Rosatom on April 27. Thus, Turkiye will be able to enjoy the status of a country boasting nuclear power. The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) – the first Turkish nuclear power facility built in collaboration with Russia’s state nuclear energy company Rosatom – is to receive the initial batch of nuclear fuel later in the day. Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the inauguration ceremony of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant via video link.Russia and Turkiye signed an intergovernmental agreement in 2010 to build the facility. Akkuyu will consist of four Russian-designed VVER generation 3+ reactors, with 1,200 megawatts (MW) capacity each.
Akkuyu, Turkiye’s Nuclear ‘Heart’
Turkiye’s ambitious plans of building a nuclear power plant go way back to the 1950s and 1960s, with actual research pertaining to the creation of a nuclear power plant on its soil starting around that time.The Akkuyu site in the Gulnar district of Mersin was deemed best suited for construction of the country’s debut nuclear plant for a specific reason. The fact is, geologically speaking, Turkiye is a seismically active junction. So it took no less than eight years of seismic studies to determine the most suitable location for an NPP. Finally, a license for the plant’s construction in Akkuyu – located in the fifth-degree earthquake zone, considered the safest region as far as earthquakes are concerned – was provided by nuclear regulators.Turkiye decided that to build its Akkuyu nuclear plant, which is translated from Turkish as “white well,” or “clean spring”, and it would seek the help of Russia, a country boasting many years of experience in the field of nuclear technology.© Sputnik / Ilya PitalevUnit 1 of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant under construction in Gulnar, TurkeyUnit 1 of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant under construction in Gulnar, Turkey / Go to the mediabankThe two sides put pen to paper and on May 12, 2010, the Governments of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkiye signed a Cooperation Agreement providing for the construction of Akkuyu nuclear power plant comprised of four Russian-designed VVER generation 3+ reactors, with 1,200 megawatts (MW) capacity each on the southern coast of the country, in Mersin province. Under the long-term contract, Russian atomic agency Rosatom agreed to provide the power plant’s design, construction, maintenance, operation and decommissioning. According to Rosatom, the plant design incorporates an external reinforced concrete wall and an internal protective shell made of “pre-stressed concrete.” Metal cables stretched inside this concrete shell are to provide additional solidity to the structure, the company said. It was also noted that power units with VVER-1200 reactors comply with the post-Fukushima requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Turkiye set the goal of commissioning the first Akkuyu reactor in 2023.Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Akkuyu nuclear plant in 2018.”In fact, today we are not only present at the construction of the first Turkish nuclear power plant, but we are also creating the basis for Turkiye’s nuclear industry as a whole,” Putin said at the event. According to him, the construction of the Akkuyu NPP will be carried out in line with the highest standards of safety and environmental requirements. The Russian head of state expressed certainty that “the joint coordinated work of Russian and Turkish specialists will make it possible to accomplish all the planned tasks on time” to ensure the launch of the first unit of the Akkuyu NPP in 2023.
"We are grateful to [our] Turkish colleagues for the decision to grant the joint project the status of a strategic investment, to expand the list of tax privileges and preferences for it. I want to thank all [our] Turkish friends for this decision, because it made this project economically feasible and profitable," President Putin emphasized.
Erdogan said that the plant, “will cover 10 percent of our country’s electric power needs. This is clean energy, it will ensure our energy security and will play an important role in the fight against climate change.” WorldErdogan, Putin Launch Construction of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (VIDEO)3 April 2018, 12:17 GMTThe construction of the second, third and fourth units of the Akkuyu plant started in June 2020, March 2021 and June 2022, respectively. When Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced via video link the start of the construction of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant’s energy unit 3 in March 2021, the Turkish president said:
"Today, we are experiencing a day of pride together, we are starting to build the third power unit. Next year, we will start building the fourth. This is an important step from the point of our energy security. I hope the nuclear power plant will give us cheap and reliable energy. As many as 186 students have already successfully studied and returned to Turkiye. The Akkuyu NPP will give a new impetus to the development of our economy."
Three remaining units are on schedule to be up and running by the end of 2026.Once the entire project is completed, the plant is expected to produce 35 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually and will meet about 10% of Turkiye’s domestic electricity needs.WorldPutin, Erdogan Announce Launch of Construction of Power Unit 3 of Akkuyu NPP in Turkey10 March 2021, 18:01 GMTThe construction of the Akkuyu nuclear plant, worth an estimated $20bn, is wholly financed by the Russian side to date. It is also the first nuclear power plant project in the world to be implemented through a build-own-operate contract (BOO), when a vendor company provides project financing, while the customer country creates all the preconditions necessary for the project’s implementation. Once it’s fully built, the facility’s ownership remains with the vendor, who is responsible for its operation and receives a profit from it.
"After our Akkuyu plant in Turkiye breaks even, 20% of the net profit generated by our Turkish project company JSC Akkuyu Nuclear will be given to the Turkish party annually. This is provided for under the Intergovernmental Agreement between Russia and Turkiye, as well as under the power purchase agreement (PPA). Given the Turkish economy’s growth and rising electricity consumption, the overall amount paid to Turkiye may exceed US$40 billion, and it will have an even higher value in taxes and social benefits," Anton Dedusenko, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, JSC Rusatom Energy International (JSC REIN), said in 2021.
The whole Akkuyu nuclear facility is expected to be operational by 2025, boasting an estimated service life of 60 years with an extension of another 20 years.WorldTurkStream Gas Pipeline Working at Full Capacity: Turkish Energy Minister13 December 2022, 08:23 GMTThe Akkuyu NPP project is one of a number of extensive bilateral ventures between Russia and Turkiye. TurkStream, an export gas pipeline from Russia to Turkiye through the Black Sea, with a capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year, is currently working at full capacity. Designed for gas supplies to Turkiye, and further on to the countries of Southern and Southeastern Europe through Turkish territory, since last September’s blasts on the Nord Stream pipelines, it has been one of the few pipelines exporting Russian gas to the European market.Furthermore, the creation of a gas hub in Turkiye is something that has been on the agenda amid the raging energy crisis, triggered, in part, by the West’s sanctions against the Russian Federation over its special military operation in Ukraine. The hub would enable gas supplies to be redirected from the damaged Nord Stream pipeline to offset the shortfall of Russian gas supplies to Northern Europe, replacing Germany. As Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak previously stated, turning Turkiye into a European gas hub implies not only the creation of a trading platform in the country, but also the development of infrastructure and boosting supplies in the southern direction.