Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant ground-breaking ceremony 2018-04-03 16:45:00 Ankara Vladimir Putin and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched the construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, via videoconference. The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant with four power units will be built in Mersin Province on the Mediterranean under a Russian-Turkish agreement signed in May 2010. Currently, the project is fully financed by Russia. It will be the world’s first nuclear power plant to be built using the BOO (Build, Own, Operate) project financing model. Russia will finance the project and operate the plant. * * * Speeches at the groundbreaking ceremony for the first power unit of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, our Turkish friends, ladies and gentlemen, First, I would like to sincerely congratulate all of you on the start of the construction of the first power unit of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant. The significance of this great innovative project is hard to overestimate. In fact, today we are not simply present at the construction of the first Turkish nuclear power plant, but we are witnessing the laying of the groundwork for Turkey’s nuclear industry. We are creating a new industry. Turkey is a highly developed country in terms of technology and economics, but this is a new phase, a new step in the development of the Turkish economy. Russia is one of the recognised leaders in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The Akkuyu project will involve the use of the most advanced engineering techniques, the most cost-effective and reliable technologies – the technologies we use for our own projects in Russia. The highest safety standards and the most stringent environmental requirements will also be observed. The opening of the plant will serve the development of the Turkish economy, its research and production potential, and will provide Turkish consumers with inexpensive and ‘clean’ electricity. According to expert estimates, this nuclear power plant will account for about 10 percent of Turkey's overall power generation, as was already mentioned. I would like to note that Russian contractors are planning to attract Turkish small and medium-sized businesses to the project; they intend to contract a significant part of the resources for the future station in Turkey. More than 350 Turkish companies have already applied for inclusion in the list of potential suppliers. The Akkuyu project will create new, modern and, very importantly, highly paid jobs in Russia and Turkey, as well as boost the development of advanced producers and technologies. We also intend to closely cooperate in training skilled personnel to operate the plant. As mentioned, over 220 Turkish young people are studying nuclear engineering at Russian universities. The 35 Turkish citizens who have graduated from one of the world’s leading universities in this area, the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, have received employment offers from Akkuyu Nuclear, the plant’s project company. I am glad that some of them are attending this ground-breaking ceremony. We are grateful to our Turkish colleagues for designating this project a strategic investment project and for expanding the list of tax incentives and preferences. I would like to thank all our Turkish friends for this decision. It has made our project economically expedient and profitable. I would also like to thank members of the Turkish parliament. What you have done will make the project much more attractive to potential investors. Dear friends, we are facing the ambitious goal of launching the first power unit in 2023, the year of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. My dear friend Recep Tayyip Erdogan and I have agreed that we will do our best to attain this goal. I am confident that our plans will be implemented thanks to close interaction between the Russian and Turkish professionals involved. The successful implementation of this project will become a symbol of the dynamic and consistent development of Russian-Turkish interaction, partnership and friendship. I wish success to all participants in this project. All the best. Thank you. President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (retranslated): Mr President, my friend, guests, ladies and gentlemen, I cordially welcome all of you. First, I would like to welcome Mr Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, as well as the members of his delegation to our country. Today, we are witnessing a historic event from the point of view of both the development of our country and energy cooperation between Turkey and Russia. Today, my friend Mr Putin and I are pleased that together we are laying the foundation of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant. I also want to express my gratitude to all members of the delegation and Mr Putin for the opportunity to be here at this ceremony. We have come a long way over the past 15 years, and this provides a good basis for developing relations between our countries. Today, we will also hold the 7th meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council, which can be rightfully called a symbol of relations between our countries. We are implementing other strategic projects with Russia as well, including the S-400 and the Turkish Stream. The nuclear power plant is one of these projects. In addition, we can say that we are working closely with the Russian Federation to address terrorist threats and all the dangers arising from the conflict in Syria. Friends, the Turkish economy has been growing by 5.8 percent on average from 2003 to 2017. In 2017, our economy grew by 7.4 percent. By 2023, when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of our country as a republic, we have set ourselves the task of becoming one of the top 10 largest economies in the world. This means we will need more energy – oil and natural gas, as well as renewable energy sources. Over the past 15 years, we have carried out previously unthinkable major projects. On the other hand, investment in the energy sector to improve our energy security is also ongoing. Our country’s energy security is stable. This nuclear power plant is of great importance for our future in this regard. Currently, 31 countries are generating electricity at 450 nuclear power plants. Also, 55 nuclear power plants are being built in 16 countries around the world. We can say that the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, the purpose of today’s groundbreaking, is the 56th plant. In 2023, we will commission the first reactor at this plant, and Turkey will thus join the countries that use atomic energy. In 2023, we will mark the 100th anniversary of our republic with the successful completion of this project. When all the reactors are operational, 10 percent of Turkey’s electricity will be generated at this plant. Today, our energy basket is largely dependent on oil, natural gas and coal, but we will become healthier once we have this plant. Nuclear power plants do not emit carbon dioxide; they produce clean and environmentally safe energy. This nuclear power plant will make a major contribution to our energy security and play a big role in combating climate change. This experience will undoubtedly lead to a greater number of employees with innovative skill sets. Importantly, hundreds of our students are currently studying at Russian universities. They will return home upon completion of their studies and start working here. Friends, I must also say that we will realise our half-century dream and build Akkuyu just as we have with many other projects. From the moment we decided to go ahead with Akkuyu, we have been in close cooperation with, above all, Mr Putin and the corresponding Russian authorities. Notably, we have experienced very good and close cooperation with our Russian colleagues. During such a difficult time, we have come a long way in a short time as a result of showing our will and serious approach to the matter. In this regard, I want to express my gratitude, first to my friend Mr Putin, and to all of our Russian colleagues. I also want to express my gratitude to our Prime Minister, Chairman of Parliament, as well as the deputies who assisted and supported us during this process. I want to thank the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey separately. In addition, I want to express my gratitude to all those who supported us in this process. Our goal is to commission the first reactor in 2023. Once the project is completed, four nuclear power reactors will be commissioned. We continue our cooperation with Russia on all regional matters, and this cooperation is expanding every day. I believe that the construction of this project will be completed soon, and it will benefit our countries and our peoples. I greet you all cordially, from the bottom of my heart.