Turkey’s Akkuyu NPP project back on track

3 August 2016

In the wake of political changes in Turkey, the project to build its first NPP at Akkuyu on the Mediterranean coast is back on track. The project had faced delays and uncertainty following tension with Russia over the conflict in Syria. Western media, citing sources in the Turkish government, reported earlier that the project was suspended. Although both Russia and Turkey denied this, progress on Akkuyu stalled.

However, in late June, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a letter addressed to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, apologised for the downing of the Russian Su-24 attack aircraft by a Turkish jet in November and extended his condolences to the family of the pilot killed in the incident.

"We did have problems caused by the fact that Turkish law did not provide for simplified licensing," Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on 29 July.  However, changes to Turkey’s legislation will now make it possible to accelerate the implementation of the Akkuyu NPP construction project, he told the Rossiya 24 TV channel. The project, to begin full implementation of the project requires a large number of licences but recent amendments to the legislation, “ provides the possibility for accelerating the project implementation", the minister said.

Turkey’s Energy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said previously after meeting Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in Moscow that Turkey had removed all legal obstacles for the construction of the Akkuyu NPP and supports construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline, which had effectively been cancelled. A meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, due to take place in St Petersburg on 9 August, is set "to give the final impetus" to TurkStream, Zeybekci said.

The intergovernmental Russian-Turkish agreement on construction of the Akkuyu NPP was signed in May 2010 and provides for construction of four VVER-1200 units based on Russian project NPP-2006. The total cost of the construction is estimated at $22bn. The total funds Russia allocated to the project to date is approximately $3bn. In June, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said that first concreting at Akkuyu NPP was planned for 2018. The first power unit is set to begin operation in 2023. Rosatom now expects to receive the construction licence in August.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said talks had been held with Turkey. "We discussed some investment projects, including the construction of the Akkuyu NPP. There is some progress here already. The necessary regulatory framework is being completed by the Turkish side. We expect to be able to move forward quite quickly," he told reporters.



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