Turkey Starts Building First Nuclear Plant

Turkey Starts Building First Nuclear PlantTurkey Starts Building First Nuclear Plant

Turkey launched the construction of its first nuclear power plant at a cost of $20 billion for greater energy self-sufficiency on Tuesday. The nuclear power station in Akkuyu in the southern Mersin Province is being built by Russia's nuclear agency Rosatom.

"Development cannot take place in a country without nuclear energy," said Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz at a ceremony attended by the head of Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko and other top officials, Daily Sabah said in a report.

It is the first of three nuclear power plants Turkey plans to build to reduce energy imports from major exporters such as Russia and Iran. A second plant is due to be built by a French-Japanese consortium in the northern Black Sea city of Sinop, while a third plant, the location of which is yet to be finalized, is also planned.

"If we had built this power station 10 years ago, we would have saved $14 billion in natural gas purchases," said Yldiz, adding that if the Akkuyu plant had been operating now, it would cover the electricity needs of Istanbul, which has a population of 15 million, and would be satisfying 28 percent of electricity demand in Turkey. The two sides laid the cornerstone for the construction of the power station, expected to be completed by 2020 and will have four power units with a capacity of 1200 MW each.