Erdoğan, Putin describe Akkuyu nuclear power plant as ‘symbol of friendship’

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ANKARA, MAR 10 – A Russian-built nuclear power plant in Turkey, set to come into operation in 2023, represents close cooperation between the two countries, the two country’s presidents said on Wednesday.

“We see this giant project as one of the symbols of Turkish-Russian cooperation,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a videoconference with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Erdoğan and Putin watched the laying of concrete at the third unit of the 20-billion-dollar Akkuyu nuclear power plant in southern Turkey via video link.

The construction of the plant, Turkey’s first ever, started in 2018.

Putin praised the project as a “symbol of friendship” and said it will “contribute to Turkey’s energy security.”

The plant’s first unit, out of a total of four, is scheduled to be operational in 2023, the centennial of the republic’s foundation, Erdoğan said.

The “strategic” project will eventually provide 10 percent of Turkey’s electricity requirment, Erdoğan added.

Russia’s Rosatom has a 99.2-per-cent stake in Akkuyu. Turkish engineers are receiving training in Russia to operate the plant in the future.

Erdoğan said construction of the fourth unit will start in 2021.

Ankara is determined to deepen ties with Moscow in other fields, including in security cooperation in the wider region, Erdoğan added.