Russia Starts Building Turkey’s 1st Nuclear Power Plant

The plant will be built by Russian state nuclear energy agency Rosatom and will be made up of four units each with a capacity of 1,200 megawatts. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Tayyip Erdoğan marked the start to construction, watching by video link from Ankara. “When all four units go online, the plant will meet 10% of Turkey’s energy needs,” Erdoğan said, adding that despite delays Turkey still planned to start generating power at the first unit in 2023.

The Akkuyu project is currently fully funded by the Russian side. According to a bilateral agreement, at least 51% of shares in the finished project should belong to Russian companies, while up to 49% of shares can be available for purchase by outside investors. But since Russia was awarded the contract in 2010, the project has been beset by delays. Last month, sources familiar with the matter said Akkuyu was likely to miss its 2023 target start-up date, but Rosatom, which is looking for local partners to take a 49% stake in the project.

Erdoğan told the news conference Turkey may cooperate with Russia on defence projects besides the S-400 missile defence system which Moscow has agreed to supply to Ankara. He did not give further details. Turkey signed an agreement to buy the S-400 system in late December in a move which raised concern in the West because it cannot be integrated into NATO’s military architecture.

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