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Russia’s Rosatom Gets Go-Ahead from Turkey to Begin Construction of Fourth Unit of Akkuyu NPP

By Vusala Abbasova October 31, 2021

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The $20-billion project, financed by Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, will be the first nuclear power plant built in Turkey. / AA Photo

JSC Akkuyu Nuclear, a subsidiary of Russian nuclear conglomerate Rosatom, got the green light from Turkey’s Nuclear Regulatory Council to start construction work on the fourth power unit of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant (NPP) in southern Turkey.

“Obtaining a license allows to start performing all construction and installation work on the unit, including nuclear safety facilities,” the press service of Akkuyu Nuclear said in a statement issued on Friday.

The $20-billion project, financed by Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, will be the first nuclear power plant built in Turkey. Under an agreement reached in 2010, Russia is responsible for designing, constructing, maintaining, operating and decommissioning the plant after its service life of 60 years ends.

Anastasia Zoteeva, who heads Akkuyu Nuclear JSC, said that issuing a construction license to Akkuyu Nuclear for Unit 4 is an important milestone for the project’s implementation, marking the completion of the licensing process for the construction of the four-unit NPP.

The licensing process for Turkey’s first NPP required 120 different licenses and permits from various Turkish government agencies. So far, all key licenses and permits, including a positive environmental impact assessment report, an electricity generation license and power unit construction licenses have been issued.

“We are now ready to carry out works on all four power units,” Zoteeva said. “At the beginning of next year, we will start building the foundation slab of the nuclear island buildings.”

Located near the port of Mersin, situated on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, the Akkuyu site is connected by sea, enabling transportation of heavy machinery to the site. It is close to centers of electricity consumption such as Adana, Konya, Antalya and Mersin.

Comprising four units of VVER-1200 type reactors, the Akkuyu NPP project will become one of the world's largest nuclear construction center. Once complete, four generating pressurized water reactor units with a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts are expected to generate nearly 35 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity every year — enough to provide 90 percent of the annual electricity demand of a large city such as Istanbul, and meet up to 10 percent of the electricity needs of the whole of Turkey.

The large-scale joint Russian-Turkish project is supposed to cut back the country’s vulnerable reliance on Russian gas for electricity.

At the same time, the NPP will be the first to use the BOO (Build-Own-Operate) co-investment model, meaning that Russia is responsible for both helping build the plant and the overall safety and operation of the facility once it is up and running.

Russia’s state-owned nuclear body, Rosatom, ranks third worldwide in terms of nuclear power generation. The energy giant is also the global leader in the simultaneous implementation of nuclear power plant units, holding the world’s largest portfolio of foreign construction projects.

With the Akkuyu NPP project, Russia’s state-owned nuclear body, Rosatom, aims to contribute to the achievement of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The Akkuyu project reportedly meets all the modern safety requirements of the global nuclear community, namely those established by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the International Nuclear Safety Group, as well as those stipulated in the European Utility Requirements.