The foundation of the third unit of Turkey's first nuclear power plant, the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), will be laid on Wednesday with a groundbreaking ceremony to be attended by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin via video conference call.
An intergovernmental agreement for the Akkuyu NPP, which is currently under construction in the southern province of Mersin, was signed between Turkey and Russia in May 2010.
The plant's groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 3, 2018, after which construction started at the first unit. The foundation of the second unit was laid in April 2020.
The third unit is now ready for the laying of its foundation following the completion of construction preparatory works, the license of which was granted in November 2020.
As works continue at full speed, an application for the construction license of the fourth and last unit was made in May last year, with expectations that it will be obtained this year.
Operation start of the plant's first unit is planned for 2023 when the country will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the republic. All the remaining three units are due to start operations by the end of 2026, at a rate of one per year.
The plant, which will have four VVER-1200 power reactors upon completion, will have a total installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts, and will produce 35 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually when it is fully commissioned.
The project is expected to employ around 15,000 people during its peak construction period, and about 4,000 people during its operations.
The base load plant, which will have an estimated 60 years of service life with an extension of another 20 years, will produce carbon-free energy around the clock.
It will also play a leading role in reducing dependence on imported energy resources, with plans to meet around 10% of the country’s power consumption.
The total investment volume of the plant is calculated at $20 billion.
According to Niyazi Meric, director of Nuclear Sciences Institute at Ankara University, the plant is on schedule for construction completion, given the construction start for the third unit on Wednesday, and based on an average construction timeline of four years.
The start of Turkey’s journey to nuclear power through the Akkuyu project has set a precedent for others to follow in this sector, specifically scientists and technology companies, which are needed to develop a highly skilled workforce, Meric said.