Turkey begins to construct first nuclear power plant
Iran Press TV
Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:22PM
Turkey has started the controversial construction of its first nuclear power plant, which Ankara hopes will bring a new era of greater energy self-sufficiency for the country.
During a ceremony on Tuesday, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz hailed the plant's construction, saying nuclear energy was key to development in any nation.
"If we had built this power station 10 years ago, we would have saved $14 billion in natural gas purchases," Yildiz said.
A number of top energy officials, including Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's Rosatom nuclear agency, were also present at the ceremony.
The station, the first of the three Turkish nuclear power plants to be constructed in the country, is being built by Rosatom in Mersin Province. The project will cost about $20 billion.
The Akkuyu plant, which will have four power units, is expected to be completed by 2020.
This comes as Ankara has responded to concerns that the plant lies in a seismic zone by saying it would be able to resist nine-magnitude earthquakes.
In January, the environmentalist campaign group, Greenpeace, launched a complaint in court against the issuance of an environmental impact license to the plant, which is located in an area rich with wildlife.
Greenpeace argues that Ankara is not prepared to build nuclear reactors as it is still lacking "key pieces of necessary legislation."
This comes just weeks after the country suffered its worst nationwide power cut in nearly two decades.
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