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Turkiye resolving dispute between companies at Russia-funded nuclear power plant

A view of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant in in Mersin, Turkiye on 21 July 2022 [Serkan Avci/Anadolu Agency]

The Turkish government has said that it is seeking to resolve a dispute between companies involved in the Russian-funded Akkuyu nuclear power plant being constructed in southern Turkiye.

After the Akkuyu plant and its parent and financier Russian company, Rosatom, terminated a deal with the Turkish firm, IC Ictas, to complete the site's remaining construction work, they awarded the contract to the Russian-owned firm, TSM Enerji, instead.

IC Ictas then announced on Monday that it had launched a legal challenge to the termination of the initial deal, setting into motion a dispute between the companies and firms involved.

In a statement by the Turkish Energy Ministry yesterday, however, it said that it "has taken the necessary initiatives to resolve the dispute between the parties". It stressed that "Our priority is to ensure that all contractors and employees who have been serving at the construction site since the beginning of the project do not suffer any grievances and that the project is put into service on time".

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The Akkuyu nuclear plant and Rosatom did not give any specific reason for the termination of IC Ictas's contract, but said that the deal with TSM Enerji would ensure that the construction of the plant would be completed by the required dates and timeframe, and that all workers would be paid on time.

In the building of the plant, time is reportedly an essential issue due to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's aim to have it begin functioning in 2023 after the first reactor, out of a total of four, begins to operate, prior to the presidential elections that same year.

The project, based in the southern Turkish city of Mersin, is expected to boost Turkiye's energy sector and capabilities, producing up to 10 per cent of the country's electricity once all reactors become operational at a total of 4,800 megawatts.

To that end, the Russian state-owned Rosatom is transferring $20 billion to Turkiye for the nuclear plant's construction and production, making it a major point of cooperation between Ankara and Moscow, especially at a time when much of the world is under the threat of a looming energy crisis from this year and beyond.

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