Turkish President Erdoğan looks to further new nuclear

10 November 2021

Turkey plans to build more nuclear power plants after it completes Akkuyu, the country's president said yesterday. "After Akkuyu nuclear power plant, we will swiftly begin preparations for our second and third power plants," Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said. Akkuyu is expected to generate its first electricity in 2023.

Units 1 to 4 taking shape at the Akkuyu site in October (Image: Akkuyu NPP)

Erdoğan's comments were reported in the Daily Sabah newspaper and indicate his satisfaction with the progress of the Akkuyu project, at which three VVER-1200 pressurised water reactors are under construction, with a fourth at the groundwork stage.

Akkuyu 1 is slated to begin operation in 2023 and the entire plant should be complete by 2026. At that time it should provide about 27.5 TWh per year, equal to about 9% of the country's electricity. Repeating this two more times would take Turkey to around 27% nuclear power, which is well beyond the 18% average of Turkey's fellow OECD countries.

Turkey's ambitions for nuclear energy date back to the 1970s, when Akkuyu was first earmarked for a power plant. That plan did not deliver, and neither did two subsequent ones, but the country's nuclear programme was successfully launched by Erdoğan in around 2006. At that time two further sites were proposed for nuclear development: Sinop, which is central on Turkey's Black Sea coast, and Ignaeda, which is on the Black Sea in the European part of Turkey.

Various plans have been discussed for the two proposed sites. Four Atmea1 units by a joint venture of Framatome and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries were discussed for Sinop and an intergovernmental agreement was signed with Japan giving it "exclusive negotiating rights to build a nuclear power plant." For Ignaeda there was discussion with Westinghouse and China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) regarding AP1000s and SNPTC's development of them, the CAP1400.

Among other vendor options open to Turkey would also be the possibility of expanded cooperation with Russia's Rosatom. Erdoğan said, "We spoke to [Russian President] Vladimir Putin about building two more nuclear plants, besides Akkuyu. He agreed to work on the issue." The two leaders met on 29 September.

Erdoğan's reported comments concluded: "It is impossible for those who have the slightest sensitivity in their hearts about the economic independence of Turkey and the well-being of the Turkish nation to oppose nuclear energy."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News