By Emre Gurkan Abay
The construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) is on schedule, said Russia's energy minister on Monday.
"Our company was waiting for a construction license and now we have received information that permission will be given," Alexander Novak told Anadolu Agency one day before the groundbreaking ceremony.
The groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday in Turkey's southern Mersin province will see the participation of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin via video conference from Ankara.
Novak hailed the importance of the project for his country, and said, "We thank our Turkish partners for giving strategic investment status to the project."
He also commended the involvement of Turkish investors during the construction and for the future operation of the project.
"We are in talks with Turkish companies and are expecting positive results," Novak said.
Rosatom plans to construct the plant with a capacity of 4,800 megawatts in four units and a working life of 8,000 hours per year, but plans to sell a 49 percent share of the project.
In the first phase of construction, two units with a capacity of 2,400 megawatts are planned.
The plant has an operational date set for the first reactor by 2023 while the plant is expected to be up and running at full capacity by 2025.
Novak also commented on the other Russia-Turkey project, the dual-pipeline TurkStream gas project to bring 15.75 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Europe.
Novak said that Russia is in talks with the European Commission to determine the route that the second line via Turkey will take, with alternatives including Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Serbia, Hungary and Austria.