The US$20bn (£14bn) Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, which will have four 1,200MW reactors, will be built by the Russian state nuclear energy agency, Rosatom.
Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin took part in the ceremony via a video-conference link and each made a speech that was followed live at the construction site.
Erdogan said : “With the launch of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant’s first reactor in 2023, Turkey will have joined the group of countries using nuclear energy. We will thus have crowned the centennial of our Republic with a historic work in the field of energy.”
Putin underlined the importance of the nuclear energy for Turkey and noted that the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant will significantly contribute to the Turkish economy and will increase Turkey’s scientific and technological potential.
He said that the Akkuyu project will involve the use of the most advanced engineering techniques, the most cost-effective and reliable technologies – “the technologies we use for our own projects in Russia”. The highest safety standards and the most stringent environmental requirements will also be observed, he added.
“I would like to note that Russian contractors are planning to attract Turkish small and medium-sized businesses to the project; they intend to contract a significant part of the resources for the future station in Turkey,” said Putin. “More than 350 Turkish companies have already applied for inclusion in the list of potential suppliers. The Akkuyu project will create new, modern and, very importantly, highly paid jobs in Russia and Turkey, as well as boost the development of advanced producers and technologies.”
Erdoğan said that nuclear energy holds an important place in plans for a future in which the country will have sound and sustainable energy. “Currently, 31 countries obtain a significant portion of their electricity from 450 active nuclear power plants all around the world,” he said. “And there are 55 nuclear power plants under construction in 16 countries at present. This number will rise to 56 with the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, for which we have broken ground.”
The plant will supply 10% of Turkey’s electricity demand after all its units become operational.
Erdoğan said that Turkey and Russia will continue to work together in line with their goal of launching the first of four reactors of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant in 2023 and underlined that they are determined to continue and further strengthen their cooperation with Russia on regional issues, too.