Alparslan Bayraktar, Turkey’s energy minister, has said that the first nuclear unit at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant should be launched by the end of the year, while negotiations with Russia, China and South Korea on the construction of two more nuclear power plants continue.

According to Bayraktar, there are still issues relating to sanctions that need to be overcome, but the aim is to produce the first electricity from the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in 2024, with all four units scheduled for completion by 2028.

Turkey aims to install 20GW of nuclear capacity by 2050. Akkuyu would provide a proportion of this, but a second nuclear power plant will also need to be established. The country is in talks with Russia and South Korea to build this in Sinop.

According to World Nuclear News, Bayraktar said that Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom “already have serious experience from the Akkuyu project, so we want to carry it on to Sinop, as well. Our negotiations will continue with both [Russia and South Korea].”

Based in the southern province of Mersin, the 4.8GW Akkuyu facility will be Turkey’s first nuclear power plant. Under the build-own-operate model, Rosatom is building four VVER-1200 reactors. Construction of the first unit began in 2018. In addition to plans for the second nuclear power plant at Sinop, there are plans for a third plant in the Thrace region in the north-west of Turkey.

Meanwhile, negotiations with China on the Thrace project are now at a “very serious” stage, according to Bayraktar.

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Rosatom may also bid for the third plant at Thrace in addition to Sinop. The TASS news agency quoted Alexey Likhachev, chief executive of Rosatom, as saying: “It may well be so that several vendors will compete for it. We are not afraid of competition; on the contrary, it is more to inspire us.”