Turkish Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) has granted power generation license to Akkuyu Nuclear Company for a 49-year period for its Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant project in southern Turkey's Mersin.
In a statement, EMRA announced Thursday that the electricity generation license will be valid from June 15, 2017.
The $20 billion worth Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, with its four reactors, will have an installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts and a working lifetime of 8,000 hours per year. Once operational, the plant is estimated to meet around 6-7 percent of Turkey's electricity demand.
"Although the first unit of the power plant was planned to start operations in 2025, Akkuyu Nuclear Company has announced that it will start generating electricity on Oct. 29, 2023, on the centennial anniversary of the Turkish Republic," the statement added.
The first agreement on Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant was signed with Russia back in 2010. Russia's state atomic energy corporation, Rosatom is constructing the Akkuyu power plant. It will produce approximately 35 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity every year, once completed. The power plant will have a service life of 60 years.
The project has repeatedly run into delays, including being briefly halted after Turkey downed a Russian jet near the Syrian border in November 2015. Ties have since normalized between the two countries and work on the plant has resumed.
Turkey's second nuclear power plant will be built by a French-Japanese consortium in Sinop, near the Black Sea.
Dependent on imports for almost all of its energy, Turkey has embarked on an ambitious nuclear program, commissioning Rosatom in 2013 to build the four 1,200 megawatt (MW) reactors.
With Turkey's energy imports costing about $50 billion annually and its energy demand among the fastest-growing in Europe, Ankara wants at least five percent of its electricity generation to come from nuclear energy in under a decade, cutting dependency on natural gas largely bought from Russia.