Preparations for the construction of a second reactor at the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), Turkey's first NPP, have been completed. Accordingly, Akkuyu Nükleer A.Ş. will apply to the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) to receive a construction permit for the second 200-megawatt (MW) reactor this week. TAEK has already issued construction licenses for the first reactor at Akkuyu NPP, where work began on April 3, 2018.
The licenses were issued only after fulfilling the general and special conditions, determined in accordance with the legislation on nuclear facilities. Now the same procedures will apply for the second reactor, but this time the process will be handled faster because certain stages have already been talked over. Thus, separate construction permit licenses will be issued later for the other two reactors. After the commissioning of the first reactor in 2023, one reactor is planned to be introduced every year until 2026.
The construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant was launched on April 3 through a groundbreaking ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
The Akkuyu NPP holds the records for the highest investment in a single project in Turkey, with an estimated cost of $20 billion. The nuclear plant deal is part of wider energy projects with Russia, including the $12-billion TurkStream pipeline that will deliver Russian gas to Turkey and southern Europe. Russia is the top supplier of natural gas to Turkey. According to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), Turkey spent $37.2 billion on energy imports last year alone, a 37-percent increase from 2016.
Dependent on imports for almost all of its energy, Turkey has embarked on an ambitious nuclear program, commissioning Rosatom in 2013 to build four 1,200-MW reactors at Akkuyu.
The Akkuyu NPP will reach its full capacity in 2026 with four reactors, each with an installed capacity of 1,200 MW. It will generate an average of 35 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually when it reaches 4,800 MW.
Turkey's energy imports amount to roughly $55 billion annually and its energy demand is among the fastest-growing in Europe. The country wants to generate at least 10 percent of its power from nuclear energy in less than a decade to cut dependency on natural gas.
When all four units are activated, Akkuyu NPP alone will be able to provide 10 percent of Turkey's electricity needs, bringing its energy portfolio to a healthier level, which is currently largely dependent on oil, gas and coal.