Wednesday, 22 May 2019 | 05:37 WIB

Putin, Erdogan Inaugurate Turkey’s Nuclear Power Plant

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right)

ANKARA, NNC - Turkish and Russian leaders on Tuesday (4/3/2018) unveiled the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Turkey by launching a US$ 20 billion Akkuyu power plant (approximately IDR275.1 trillion) in the southern Turkish province of Mersin.

The nuclear-powered power plant will be built by Russia's State Nuclear Energy Agency, Rosatom, and will consist of four units, each with 1,200 megawatt capabilities.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan officially marked the start of Akkuyu's first unit development by watching video links from the Turkish state capital Ankara.

"When all four units are running, the power plant will be able to meet 10 percent of Turkey's energy needs," Erdogan said.

He added that, despite delays, Turkey still plans to start generating electricity in the first unit by 2023.

The US$24 billion and 4,800-megawatt power plant is part of Erdogan's "2023 Vision", to mark the founding of 100 years of modern Turkey and aimed at reducing the country's dependence on energy imports.

However, since Russia won the contract in 2010, the project was delayed.

Last month, sources familiar with the matter said Akkuyu probably would not reach the target of 2023. But Rosatom, who is looking for local partners to take a 49 percent stake in the project, said it was determined to meet the prescribed time frame.

Interfax news agency later quoted the head of Rosatom, who said that the sale of 49 percent stake would likely be postponed until 2019.

Turkish companies have backed down from the project due to the amount of funding needed and concerns that they would not receive a sufficient share of the lucrative deal, two industry sources said.

Putin was in Turkey for a two-day visit since Tuesday. During his visit, he will hold meetings with Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a summit in Syria.