Russia to Start Building a $20 Bn Nuclear Power Plant in Turkey in September

Turkish Stream isn't the only Russian-Turkish energy mega project. If anything the Akkuyu nuclear power plant is bigger

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The era of Turkey partnering with Russia on mega projects in Turkey has begun with the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, which is expected to cost $20 billion. The Cengiz-Kalyon-Kolin (CKK) consortium will hold a 49% stake in the project, according to a preliminary agreement recently signed in Moscow. The final deal is expected to be signed in August or September.

No one was surprised when CKK was reported as a likely major shareholder in such a huge project. CKK companies have been contractors in several major projects in Turkey and abroad, primarily in the energy sector. The CKK businesses, which grew rapidly under Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule, are currently partners in the consortium that is building Istanbul's third airport at a cost of 22 billion euros ($25.1 billion). Zirve Holding, the parent company of Kalyon Construction, also owns the media group of Sabah-ATV, the media outfit closest to the government.

With the involvement of politically powerful Turkish partners, the Akkuyu project is going to speed up, especially in regard to the necessary paperwork, such as permits, which the Russians are expecting to conclude by the end of the year. When it became certain that Turkish partners would sign on, Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority issued an energy production license until 2066. Now land utilization permits will be provided by the Ministry of Forestry, and the Ministry of Finance and the Atomic Energy Agency will issue the construction permit for the station. These are expected to be concluded in short order, and the start date for construction of the plant will be moved up to September 2017 from 2018. The Turkish consortium will be actively involved in the construction, management, and credit financing.

Energy Minister Berat Albayrak said in November that power production at Akkuyu could begin by 2023, the centennial of the Turkish Republic. According to the latest projections, the first unit will start production in 2023 and the second one in 2024 with a total capacity of 24,000 megawatts. Energy experts agree that a “magician’s hand” has touched the Akkuyu project. No obstacles are expected in the construction and production stages going forward.

In return for accelerating the construction process, Turkish partners have an important demand: an equal share in management although their equity share will be 49%. Murtaza Ata, the head of the Kalyon Energy Group, told the Anadolu Agency, “We think it is a reasonable request to have an equal share in management. We believe that as soon as the final accord is signed, as the CKK, we will contribute substantially to further expedite the process.”

Source: Al-Monitor

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