Turkiye’s first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu, has been officially granted nuclear facility status with the delivery of the first nuclear fuel to the plant site, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, Anadolu News Agency reports.
“With the delivery of nuclear fuels by air and sea to our power plant, Akkuyu has now gained the status of a nuclear plant,” Erdogan said during his virtual address to the first nuclear fuel delivery ceremony.
Turkiye has risen to the league of countries with nuclear power in the world, albeit after a 60-year delay, he added.
An inter-governmental agreement for the plant in southern Mersin province was signed between Turkiye and Russia in May 2010. The plant’s ground-breaking ceremony was held on 3 April, 2018, after which construction started on the first unit.
Stressing that there are 422 nuclear reactors in operation in the world, and 57 of them are still under construction, Erdogan said the EU gets 25 per cent of its electricity from nuclear sources.
“Last year, the European Commission accepted nuclear energy as ‘green energy’ and eliminated the hesitations on this issue. With Akkuyu, we made our country a part of these developments,” he added.
Akkuyu ‘biggest joint investment’ with Russia
“Like many important projects, Akkuyu was realised with a financing model that does not burden our national budget. Akkuyu is our biggest joint investment with Russia,” Erdogan said.
“All units of the power plant will be put into service gradually until 2028,” he said, adding that the country will meet 10 per cent of its electricity needs from the nuclear plant once all reactors are operational.
He added that the project, which will contribute to reducing Turkiye’s natural gas imports by $1.5 billion annually, will also positively impact the increase in the national income.
The plant, expected to have an installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts and four reactors, is set to begin generating power later this year.
“Based on our experience in this project, we will take action as soon as possible for our second and third nuclear power plants, which we plan to construct in different regions,” Erdogan said.
Approximately 30,000 people were employed on the site during the most active project phase.
“The fact that our power plant was not affected by the earthquakes on 6 February demonstrates how meticulously our engineers and workers perform their jobs,” Erdogan said.
He also congratulated all the Turkish and Russian personnel who took part in the construction of the power plant.