12 September 2019, Ankara, Turkey – Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez met with students who will set out for Russia to study for master's degree in nuclear engineering at the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU).


The meeting with 22 Turkish students who will be studying at the SPbPU master’s degree programme in the branches of "Heat Power Engineering and Heat Engineering" and "Power Engineering and Electrical Engineering" as part of a targeted personnel training program for the construction and operation of Akkuyu NPP, was held in Ankara.


The meeting, organized by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MENR) of Turkey, was attended by the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez, the head of the Department of Nuclear Energy and International Projects of MENR Ibrahim Halil Dere, as well as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Chief Executive Officer of AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC Anastasia Zoteeva.


“Unfortunately, in regards to electricity generation, our country is 40-50% dependent on energy supplies from abroad. As for primary energy resources, the rate of Turkey’s external dependence is almost 75%. We have to increase the volume of electricity generation from our own energy sources. For us, nuclear energy is an indicator of power, a high degree of technological development, civilization and the general development of a state. This year, for the first time, we are sending 22 students from Turkey to study at the master’s degree programme of Peter the Great Polytechnic University, 13 of them will study in the "Heat Power Engineering and Heat Engineering" branch and 9 in the "Power Engineering and Electrical Engineering" branch. Upon completion of training, they will return to Turkey and begin to work at this large-scale project before the moment the NPP is put into operation. Both for Turkey and for Russia, this is a very upscale project. The education that our students will receive will allow them to play an important role in the development of a new high-tech industry in our country,” Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez stated in his speech at the meeting.


Following the Minister of Energy Fatih Donmez, Anastasia Zoteeva, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC, took the floor. Noting the importance of education in Russia, she said: “Getting higher education is only the beginning of a professional career. Through this education, young representatives of the Turkish Republic get the opportunity to enter the high-tech industry, which is in demand in the world. Under this program, students will study not only in classrooms, but also in internships at operating nuclear power plants in Russia, they will directly adopt the experience of their colleagues, and most importantly, they will become the main holders of knowledge and experience in nuclear technology in their country.”


Student of the Turkish University of Chukurova Tugce Kurt, who is going to study at the master’s degree programme in Russia, shared her impressions: “Nuclear energy is one of the most promising and dynamically developing branches of the energy industry. Our country is lacking for energy capacities, which are not dependent on changing climate conditions, and nuclear energy will satisfy this need. Over time, when Turkey implements a number of projects in the field of nuclear energy, the profession of a nuclear engineer will be in great demand. In Turkey, I took the education as a mechanical engineer and I am very glad that I can expand my knowledge and get the opportunity to work in the Turkish nuclear industry.”


22 Turkish students going to study on a master's programme were selected from 450 applicants based on the results of admission tests conducted by AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC together with representatives of SPbPU, Rossotrudnichestvo and the Russian Embassy in Turkey.


For two years, students participating in the program will study at the historical campus of the Polytechnic University of St. Petersburg, founded in 1899 and considered to be of the best technical universities in Russia. The university, where prominent Russian scientists, including three Nobel Prize winners - Pyotr Kapitsa, Nikolai Semenov and Zhores Alferov held classes, is famous for its scientific and technological backgrounds. Master's programme studies will be held in English, and, at the request of AKKUYU NUCLEAR, students will have classes for learning the Russian language.


About training of Turkish specialists for Akkuyu NPP


The personnel training programme for Akkuyu NPP is being implemented under the “Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Turkey on cooperation in the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant at the Akkuyu NPP site in the Republic of Turkey”. The programme is aimed at training specialists from the Republic of Turkey and providing their further employment at AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC. AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC initiated the educational programme in 2011. The costs of training specialists are covered by the Russian side.


Training takes place at the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (NRNU MEPhI) and St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University of Peter the Great (SPbPU). The first students from Turkey began studying at Russian universities in 2011 under the program of the specialty "Nuclear Power Plants: Design, Operation, and Engineering".


In March 2018, 35, and in February 2019, another 53 Turkish specialists completed the training course and were employed by AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC. Currently, more than 150 Turkish students continue their studies at MEPhI and SPbPU.