President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday that the initial unit of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu, would be completed by May 2023.
Erdoğan’s remarks came at a meeting in the southern Mersin province after he paid a visit to the construction site of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which is being built on the Mediterranean coast.
Russia's state nuclear energy firm Rosatom is building the plant. The two countries signed a cooperation agreement in 2010 and began the construction in 2018.
“I have witnessed that the construction of the power plant is processing rapidly with the efforts of our engineers and workers,” Erdoğan said.
“I hope the first unit of such a work of art, on whose construction work a total of 13,000 engineers, including 10,000 Turks and 3,000 Russians, will be finished by May 2023.”
Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in March launched the construction of the plant's third reactor, out of a total of four.
The three remaining 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. The groundbreaking ceremony of the fourth reactor will take place next year.
Erdoğan said they consider the project as one of the important symbols of their 2023 goals.
“The facility will make a very important contribution to Turkey’s development with the power it will produce, to the environment with the reduction in carbon emissions it will provide, and to our breakthroughs in this field with its technology,” he noted.
“At a time when the debate on climate change is increasingly growing, nuclear power plants are still the most important energy source alternative for countries like us.”
Once completed, the plant is expected to produce 35 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually and will meet about 10% of domestic electricity needs.
The plant, which will have an estimated service life of 60 years with an extension of another 20 years, will produce carbon-free energy around the clock.
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 is estimated to be around $20 billion.
The giant project is expected to employ around 15,000 people during its peak construction period, and about 4,000 people during its operations.
Turkey now aims to take steps for second and third nuclear plants as soon as possible, Erdoğan said.