Russian state-owned energy company Rosatom has announced that the main construction phase for the fourth and final unit of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Turkey has begun.

The construction works began with a ground-breaking ceremony attended by Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez and Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachev among other officials.

At the ceremony, Likhachev said: “Akkuyu NPP is the flagship Rosatom project outside of Russia.

“This is our largest project with construction taking place at four NPP units simultaneously. We see the colossal work accomplished at the construction of this nuclear power plant.

“I am confident this project has become an example worth following in the fruitful cooperation between the companies of our countries, involvement of the Turkish industry, and the establishment of an efficient supply chain.”

In October last year, the Turkish Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NDK) issued the licence for the construction of Unit Four.

The 4.8GW Akkuyu NPP is said to be the largest joint venture (JV) project between Russia and Turkey. It is being delivered by Akkuyu Nuclear, a joint stock company that is majority-owned by Rosatom.

The project will feature four VVER-1200 type reactors, which are capable of meeting 10% of Turkey’s electricity demand in total.

The Akkuyu NPP is scheduled to start generating electricity next year, when its first unit begins operations.

It will have an operational life of around 60 years, during which it is expected to prevent 35 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

Minister Dönmez said: “Akkuyu will play an important role not just through the electricity generation, but also with its contribution to our green energy goal.

“Thus, we will support our energy supply security with an environmentally friendly, cost-competitive and reliable energy source.”