Construction of Akkuyu Nuclear Plant to start in Sept.

The construction of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant will start in September this year, top officials of Cengiz-Kolin-Kalyon (CKK), a Turkish consortium of contracting conglomerates, said on Tuesday, a sign of a desire to bolster Russia-Turkey cooperation on several fronts.

Russian state-owned Rosatom signed an agreement in Moscow with CKK to sell a 49 percent stake in Turkey's Akkuyu nuclear power plant.

The plant will have a capacity of 4,800 megawatts in four units and a working lifetime of 8,000 hours per year. In its first phase, two units with a capacity of 2,400 megawatts are planned to be completed by 2023.

Speaking exclusively to Anadolu Agency on the details of the agreement, top officials of the CKK consortium said the signing of the deal would also help further improve relations between Turkey and Russia.

Mehmet Cengiz, CEO of Cengiz, a Turkish contracting giant, said the signing of the deal concludes a two-year negotiation process with Rosatom.

"Turkey has to learn more about nuclear technology and Russia is a very important partner for acquiring this. If we successfully complete the Akkuyu [plant], we as CKK want to further develop our know-how on nuclear," he explained.

Cengiz elaborated that under the terms of the deal, the 49 percent stake would be divided among the consortium of three allocating each a 16.3 percent stake.

The remaining 51 percent of Akkuyu's shares will remain with Rosatom as the agreement is expected to be finalized by the end of this year.

– Agreement will contribute to Turkey-Russia relations

Cemal Kalyoncu, CEO of Kalyon Insaat, a member of the CKK consortium, said that the signing of the significant Akkuyu project would contribute to better Turkey-Russia relations.

Celal Kologlu, a board member of Kolin Insaat (Kolin Construction) said that leaders of both countries agreed on having a Turkish partner on the project, and "furthermore, we had a verbal agreement with our Russian counterparts to collaborate on other projects abroad."

– Awaiting Turkish government approval

The value of the sale transaction will not be disclosed until the conclusion of the share ownership agreement, according to the consortium's press statement released late Monday.

Upon conclusion of the agreement, the foundation capital for the implementation of the project will be secured, the statement read.

"Following the transfer of the stake, it will be possible to obtain credit financing," the consortium said, however, further details on the amount of capital was not provided in the statement.

In a statement to the press, Rosatom deputy head Kirill Komarov confirmed that now the Turkish government needs to approve the agreement.

The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant is estimated to meet around 6-7 percent of Turkey's electricity demand.

On June 15, Turkish Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) granted an electricity generation license to the Akkuyu Nuclear Company for a period of 49 years for the project in the southern Turkish province of Mersin.

Relations between Russia and Turkey soured after Turkey shot down a Russian military jet over an airspace violation in November 2015. Following the incident, Russia imposed economic sanctions on Turkey. A subsequent letter from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his counterpart President Vladimir Putin created a thaw between the countries. After Putin recently signed off on the removal of sanctions in early June, both countries relations have been restored to good terms.

Ankara and Moscow are also cooperating to promote a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict.

Reporting By Emre Gurkan Abay in Moscow

Writing By Nuran Erkul


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