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Turkey Plans Second and Third Nuclear Power Plants

Turkey President Erdogan
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey would build a second and a third nuclear power plant. Its first plant, part of the Akkuyu complex, is not yet operational. Credit: Presidency of the Republic of Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Tuesday that the country plans to construct its second and third nuclear power plants — after the first comes online, that is.

The Akkuyu Power Plant in the south of Turkey, created with the collaboration of Russia, is now complete, but it is not yet functional.

“It is not possible for anyone who is sensitive toward Turkey’s economic independence and the welfare of the Turkish nation to oppose nuclear energy,” Erdoğan declared today, making his remarks as part of the opening of the Energy Market Regulation Institute’s (EPDK) service building.

The government is responding to the increased energy needs of the nation, he noted, saying that it is planning to commission the first unit of the Akkuyu plant sometime two years from now, in 2023.

Turkey pursues nuclear power in collaboration with Russia

The Turkish president also stated that his country is also attempting to make use of renewable energy resources. “We are breaking records in electricity generation from wind. Opposing the cleanest energy sources has nothing to do with the environment,” he declared, calling it “heedlessness” that Turkey has no functioning nuclear power plants, while 32 countries around he world operate a total of 443 such plants.

“Today, we are officially putting into service Turkey’s largest rooftop solar project, landfill gas power generation facility, and Europe’s largest combined renewable power generation power plant,” he added.

Last year, Turkey continued its relentless quest for natural gas in the Mediterranean — many times going into conflict with Greece and Cyprus as it violated their maritime borders. Hurriyet reports that the country has now drilled a total of 14 deep-sea wells.

Turkish hydrocarbon researchers did, however, strike pay dirt in the form of its largest discovery of natural gas in the Black Sea.

“With this discovery, Turkey has now risen to a different league. We will find and extract whatever is in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. The introduction of gas in the Black Sea will relieve Turkey, and the multiplier effect in our economy will increase,” Erdogan stated regarding the Black Sea resource.

“Our country’s exploration, drilling and production capabilities in the deep seas will reach a high point,” he assured the assembled crowd, adding that the country is aiming toward making the gas in the Black Sea available to the Turkish public in 2023.

In March of this year, Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin remotely inaugurated the construction of a third nuclear reactor at the Akkuyu complex.

Erdogan said at the time that the plant would launch Turkey into the ”league of nuclear energy countries” and called it a “symbol of Turkish-Russian cooperation.”

Russia is building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant on the Mediterranean coast in Mersin province. The two countries signed a cooperation agreement in 2010 and began construction in 2018.

Nuclear power is a “strategic step” for energy security, Erdogan said.

Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said the Akkuyu plant would fulfill about 10% of domestic electricity needs.

Erdogan said the first reactor would become operational in 2023, to coincide with the centennial of the modern Turkish state. A total of four reactors are planned.

Russia’s Rosatom State Corporation holds a 99.2% stake in the project, whose total cost is estimated at 20 billion U.S. dollars, according to the plant’s website.

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