ANKARA, April 3. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched the construction of the first power unit for the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant through a teleconference.
The Akkyyu NPP will become the first nuclear power plant built in Turkey.
The Russian leader expressed confidence that the entire country will feel the effect from the operation of that this new high-tech nuclear power plant.
The Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey will be built with the use of best modern technologies, similar to those which are used in Russia, Putin said.
"The most advanced engineering solutions, economically effective and reliable technologies, such technologies that we apply in Russia, will be used in the construction of the plant," he said.
The Russian leader promised that during the construction of the nuclear power plant the highest standards of safety and the strictest environmental requirements will be observed.
Putin stressed that the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Turkey will lay foundation for the nuclear industry of that country.
"We are starting the creation of a new industry. Turkey is a highly developed state in terms of technology and economy, but this is a new stage, a new step in the development of the economy of the Turkish Republic," the Russian leader said.
The Akkuyu nuclear power plant will account for about 10% of Turkey's total power generation, the Russian leader said citing expert data.
Turkey’s decision to grant strategic status to the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant project will increase its feasibility and investment attractiveness, Putin said.
"We are grateful to Turkey for granting strategic investment status to our joint project and expanding its list of concessions and preferences," Putin said. "I would like to thank our Turkish friends for that," he added. The Russian president pointed out that "it has made the project cost effective and beneficial." "It will also significantly increase the project’s investment attractiveness," he noted.
Putin emphasized Russia’s determination to actively cooperate with Turkey in training staff to operate and maintain the power plant. He said that more than 220 Turkish students were currently studying nuclear energy at Russian universities, while 35 Turkish nationals had already received degrees from the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI - one of the leading universities in the area of nuclear energy - and had also got job offers from the Akkuyu project company.
Putin also said he plans to visit the ceremony of launching the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey in 2023.
"Once again I congratulate all of you on this remarkable date, a remarkable event, and as Mr. [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan said, we will do our best to attend the launch of the new power plant in 2023 together," he said.
Russia and Turkey agreed upon joint construction of the NPP in 2010. The agreement provides for construction of four power units in the Mersin province in the south of Turkey with the total capacity of 4,800 MW. The NPP will generate 35 bln kWh of electricity per year.
The construction of the nuclear power plant will total $20 bln. The project is 100% funded by the Russian side and, according to the intergovernmental agreement, at least 51% of shares will belong to Russian companies, while 49% can be sold to investors.
In the summer of 2017, Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom agreed to sell 49% of the engineering company Akkuyu, which is charge of construction of the plant in Turkey, to the Cengiz-Kolin-Kalyon consortium.
The document on participation of these companies in the project was to be signed before the end of 2017, but in the early 2018 it became known that Kolin and Kalyon suspended talks to join the project. Rosatom started talks with other potential investors, including the Turkish state energy company Euas. Rosatom is also still in talks with Cengiz on participation of that company in construction of the nuclear power plant in Turkey. Rosatom CEO Alexei Likhachev, did not rule out that the sale of the stake in the Akkuy company would be finalized in 2019.