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Russia Explores Enhanced Nuclear Collaboration with Türkiye after Akkuyu Project Success

By Vusala Abbasova November 28, 2023

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak chaired the 18th meeting of the Russian-Turkish Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation with Turkish Trade Minister Ömer Bolat.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak has announced Russia’s keen interest in expanding collaboration with Türkiye in the field of nuclear energy.

During a meeting of the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation in Ankara, Novak revealed that Russia is exploring the participation of its contractors in the construction of small nuclear power plants.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Novak expressed satisfaction with the fruitful progress in the collaboration between the two nations in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The Russian Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the ongoing construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant (NPP), a $20-billion project financed by Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation.

“The construction of the Akkuyu NPP, our flagship project, is currently underway. Full-scale construction work is being carried out at all four nuclear power plant units, making Akkuyu one of the largest nuclear construction sites in the world,” Novak said.

The Akkuyu NPP, located in southern Türkiye, is poised to be Türkiye’s first nuclear power plant and is scheduled to become operational by October 2024. The other three units are expected to be completed by 2026. The inauguration of the nuclear plant took place on April 27, 2023, with the delivery of the first nuclear fuel to the site.

Under an agreement reached in 2010, Russia is responsible for designing, constructing, maintaining, operating, and decommissioning the Akkuyu plant after its 60-year service life ends.

Beyond the Akkuyu project, Russia expressed interest in involving its contractors in the construction of the Sinop nuclear power plant and low-power nuclear plants in Türkiye.

The Akkuyu site, near the port of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast of Türkiye, provides logistical advantages with sea connectivity for transporting heavy machinery. The site’s proximity to electricity consumption centers like Adana, Konya, Antalya, and Mersin enhances its strategic significance.

The Akkuyu NPP project, consisting of four units of VVER-1200 type reactors, is poised to become one of the world’s largest nuclear construction centers. Once completed, the plant is expected to generate nearly 35 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually, meeting a substantial portion of Türkiye’s electricity needs.

This joint Russian-Turkish initiative not only aims to reduce Türkiye’s dependence on Russian gas for electricity but also introduces the Build-Own-Operate (BOO) co-investment model. Under this model, Russia takes responsibility for both constructing the plant and overseeing its safety and operation.

Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear body, currently ranks third worldwide in nuclear power generation and is a global leader in the simultaneous implementation of nuclear power plant units.