President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend next week a joint virtual groundbreaking ceremony for the third reactor of Turkey's first nuclear power plant, the energy and natural resources minister said.
"The foundation for the third reactor in the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant will be laid on March 10 by our President Erdoğan and Russia's President Putin in a program they will attend virtually,” Fatih Dönmez told a private broadcaster Saturday.
The Energy and Natural Resources Ministry in November granted a construction license for the third unit of the plant that is being built in the southern Mersin province.
Erdoğan and Putin had attended the Akkuyu NPP's groundbreaking ceremony in April, 2018 via a videoconference call from the capital Ankara.
The two countries had signed an intergovernmental agreement in May 2010 for the plant's construction.
As works proceed as planned, the plant's first reactor, out of a total of four, is scheduled to be operational by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the Turkish republic. Around 7,000 people are working on the giant project.
All the remaining three units are due to start operation by the end of 2026, at a rate of one per year to ultimately have a total installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts (MW). The construction of the second unit started in June last year.
Once completed, the plant is expected to produce 35 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually. Turkey's total electricity consumption last year was around 305 billion kWh. Thus, the plant will meet up to 10% of the country's current electricity consumption when it starts operating at full capacity.
As a baseload plant, it will play a leading role in reducing dependence on imported energy resources, especially natural gas.
The total amount of investment in the plant has been calculated as $20 billion (TL 148.5 billion). It is expected to employ around 3,000 people, including engineers and technicians.
According to the 2021 Performance Program of the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry, 27.5% of the plant is aimed to be completed by the end of this year.
Some 16.25% of the plant, including construction, permits, licenses and approvals, was completed at the end of last year. This compares very favorably with the forecast of last year's program, which estimated progress at less than half of the figure, at 8%.
Under this year's performance program, while the estimated completion rate for 2022 is determined as 41.25%, project progress of 56.25% is expected in 2023.
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