Türkiye plans commissioning of Akkuyu NPP’s 1st reactor next year

The commissioning of the first reactor of Türkiye’s first nuclear power plant is expected next October, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar said Thursday, adding that talks on second and third plants are underway.

Discussing Türkiye’s energy agenda in a televised interview with private broadcaster NTV, Bayraktar replied to questions regarding the commissioning of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), built in the southern city of Mersin, which received the initial batch of nuclear fuel in a ceremony earlier this year.

“We have a target date, hopefully, next year, which is the 101st anniversary of our republic. We have a target date of Oct. 29, 2024. For this purpose, approximately 30,000 workers, subcontractors and the Russian company are working intensively day and night,” Bayraktar said.

“I hope that next year we will achieve our goal, commission the first reactor and provide the first nuclear electricity to our country,” he added.

Bayraktar emphasized the goal of putting into operation more than 20,000 megawatts of nuclear energy capacity in the next 30 years.

He also indicated plans to start work on nuclear power plants in the Black Sea province of Sinop and the eastern Thrace region after Akkuyu.

Regarding negotiations with China for the nuclear power plant planned in the Thrace region, Bayraktar mentioned that significant progress had been made in discussions, and agreements had been reached on some points.

“We want to turn this into an agreement within the next few years. If we cannot reach an agreement, we as Türkiye need to explore different alternatives because, in the end, we need to reach (that) goal of 20,000 megawatts of nuclear power,” he said.

‘Türkiye-U.S. Climate Dialogue’

Furthermore, Bayraktar discussed cooperation between the United States and Türkiye in the field of energy.

The minister noted that there was significant interest from American investors and financial circles in Türkiye, and they anticipated that these parties would become directly involved in investments in the near future.

“Beyond this, we are launching a new mechanism. It’s something we’ve been working on for a long time. Most likely, in November, we will start the Türkiye-U.S. Government-to-Government Energy and Climate Dialogue Program, which we plan to hold annually.” He explained that this program would bring together governments and companies.

‘Israeli gas discussions’

Regarding the ongoing discussions about transporting Israeli natural gas to European countries via Türkiye, Bayraktar said that he planned to visit Israel in November to discuss the details of this matter.

In addition, he also highlighted that Türkiye had recently signed gas supply agreements with Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Moldova and aimed not only to be a transit country in gas trade but also to be a country that supplied and managed the export of gas from various sources.

Bayraktar also mentioned that the daily flow from the Sakarya gas field to BOTAŞ’s network reached the volume of 4 million cubic meters (mcm), recalling that the target is to increase this figure to 10 million cubic meters for the first phase.

Regarding the production in the Gabar field in Şırnak province, Bayraktar recalled that it was one of the significant discoveries on a global scale.

“In Gabar, as of today, the daily production reaches 18,000 barrels. We aim to increase this to 100,000 barrels by the end of 2024,” he said.

“Consequently, with Gabar, Sakarya and hopefully other discoveries, Türkiye is setting a significant goal to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and natural gas,” the minister concluded.

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