Türkiye's first nuclear power plant Akkuyu has been officially granted nuclear facility status with the delivery of the first nuclear fuel to the plant site, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
"With the delivery of nuclear fuels by air and sea to our power plant, Akkuyu has now gained the status of a nuclear plant," Erdogan said during his virtual address to the first nuclear fuel delivery ceremony on Thursday.
Türkiye has risen to the league of countries with nuclear power in the world, albeit after a 60-year delay, he said.
An intergovernmental agreement for the plant in southern Mersin province was signed between Türkiye and Russia in May 2010. The plant's groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 3, 2018, after which construction started on the first unit.
Stressing that there are 422 nuclear reactors in operation in the world, and 57 of them are still under construction, Erdogan said the EU gets 25 percent of its electricity from nuclear sources.
"Last year, the European Commission accepted nuclear energy as 'green energy' and eliminated the hesitations on this issue. With Akkuyu, we made our country a part of these developments," he added.
"Like many important projects, Akkuyu was implemented with a financing model that does not burden our national budget. Akkuyu is our biggest joint investment with Russia," Erdogan said.
He added that the project, which will contribute to reducing Türkiye's natural gas imports by $1.5 billion annually, will also positively impact the increase in the national income.
Erdogan called the Akkuyu nuclear power plant Türkiye's "biggest joint investment" with Russia.
"Based on our experience in this project, we will take action as soon as possible for our second and third nuclear power plants, which we plan to construct in different regions," he said.
The Akkuyu Plant, expected to have an installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts and four reactors, is set to begin power production later this year.
"The fact that our power plant was not affected by the earthquakes on February 6 demonstrates how meticulously our engineers and workers perform their jobs," Erdogan said.
He also congratulated all the Turkish and Russian personnel who took part in the construction of the power plant.
Putin hails 'flagship' project
President Vladimir Putin hailed the opening of the plant, describing the facility as a "flagship" project that would cement bilateral ties.
"This is a flagship project and it brings both mutual economic benefits and, of course, helps to strengthen the multifaceted partnership between our two states," Putin said via video conference.
He said that it is “very symbolic” that Türkiye is joining the club of "industrially and technologically advanced states" as it celebrates its 100th anniversary of the foundation of the republic.
Putin also said that Akkuyu is "the largest nuclear construction project in the world," noting that the daily number of employees at the site is close to 30,000.
"At the same time, the construction of the station and its preparation for operation are carried out in strict compliance with the rules and recommendations of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)," Putin said.
He also reiterated IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi's remarks during the ceremony that the multi-level security system provided for at Akkuyu is "one of the most modern and reliable in the world."
Putin also praised his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who also attended the ceremony via virtual teleconference, saying the implementation of the Akkuyu project would be impossible without him.
“As we know, in such large-scale projects there are always some administrative difficulties, the need to overcome some procedures, and all this was done through joint efforts,” he said.
Erdogan thanks Putin in phone call
Erdogan thanked Putin for his contributions to Türkiye's first nuclear power plant, the Turkish presidency said.
The phone call between Erdogan and Putin came shortly before the project's ceremony.
In addition to bilateral relations and regional developments, the leaders also exchanged views on the developments in the Russia-Ukraine war and Black Sea grain deal.
Erdogan told Putin that new initiatives can be worked on through the proposed working group, according to the presidecy.
The leaders also discussed the developments in Syria.
Putin noted that he and Erdogan have agreed to deepen their economic, trade and agricultural cooperation.
He said the two countries were working on an initiative by Erdogan to send flour made from Russian grain to countries that needed it.
Source: TRT World