Addressing the Turkish-Russian Business Forum at the İzmir International Fair in Turkey, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on 18 August the Akkuyu NPP should be completed on the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey in 2023. Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom is constructing the $22bn Akkuyu plant near Mersin on the Mediterranean coast as a build-own-operate project under an intergovernmental contract signed between Turkey and Russia in 2010. In an interview with the Anadolu Agency Novak said Russia aims to complete licensing for Akkuyu by the end of the year. Contracting parties are now working to obtain the last of the licences, he said. Rosatom and Turkish consortium Cengiz-Kolin-Kalyon signed an agreement in June for the construction of the plant. The three Turkish consortium members will hold 49% stake in the project with Rosatom keeping 51%  of the shares. A final shareholder agreement including financing arrangements for the project is expected to be concluded by the end of the year. “We will start construction at the beginning of 2018 and once the first unit is completed, we plan to begin operation of the plant in 2023,” Novak said. The plant, with four Generation 3+ VVER-1200 units, will have a capacity of 4,800MWe and a working lifetime of 8,000 hours per year. The first phase of construction will comprise two units.