Türkiye is set to become a nuclear energy powerhouse with the inauguration of its first nuclear power facility, the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), located along the southern Mediterranean coastline in Mersin province. Built by Russia's state atomic energy company Rosatom, the facility will ultimately supply 10% of the country's electricity needs. A high-profile virtual ceremony took place on Thursday, attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The event marked the first loading of nuclear fuel into the plant's first power unit, and Putin hailed the project as a flagship initiative that strengthens the multi-faceted partnership between the two nations. He noted that while Türkiye will import less Russian natural gas as a result, the country will gain the advantage of having its own nuclear energy, which is one of the cheapest sources of energy.
The Akkuyu NPP is the outcome of a decade-long collaboration between Türkiye and Russia, which signed an intergovernmental agreement in 2010. The plant features four cutting-edge VVER Generation 3+ reactors, each with a 1,200-megawatt capacity.
The facility is designed to withstand earthquakes and features a 144-ton steel cone, the "core catcher," which traps and cools molten radioactive materials in emergencies. During the ceremony, Erdoğan expressed his gratitude to Putin for his support and revealed plans to build a second and third nuclear power plant in Türkiye as soon as possible. The Akkuyu NPP marks a new era in Türkiye's energy sector, as the country fulfills a 70-year-old dream of producing domestic nuclear energy.