Turkey nuclear plant to last 100 years: Russian official


Turkey's first nuclear plant to be built by the Russian company Rosatom will have a life span of 100 years, says CEO Sergey Kiriyenko.


Turkey's first nuclear power plant to be built on country's southern coast will be operational for 100 years, said a Russian Rosatom company official. 


"We give 60 years of guarantee for the Akkuyu nuclear plant, but I'm sure that it will have a lifespan of 80-100 years," said Sergey Kiriyenko, chief executive officer of Rosatom. 


"We have signed an agreement that undertakes mutual commitments for over 100 years," he spoke to the media in Moscow on Saturday.  


Rosatom, the state-run atomic energy corporation of Russia, signed an agreement with Turkey in 2011 to build and operate a four-reactor nuclear power plant in the Mersin province on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.


"Russia will provide four billion dollars from its state budget for this project. We will not reduce the financial support of this project," Kiriyenko said. 


"Russian and Turkish investors will be preferred at first. The project is expected to draw 50-70 percent of investment. This will happen through investors mostly, not bank loans," he added. 


 The Akkuyu plant, which is a sister project to Russia's Novovoronezh plant in Voronezh Oblast, central Russia, will require $22 billion with construction beginning in 2016 and it becoming operational in 2020. 


 Kiriyenko stated that the use of Russian expertise and technology for Turkey's first nuclear power plant is a sign of "trust" for Russia, adding that the plant is significant for the strategic cooperation between the two countries, while it will contribute to Turkey's energy needs. 


Turkey's energy import costs totaled $239 billion in the past five years, and rose to $56 billion in 2013, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute data.


The project is expected to produce about 35 billion kilowatt-hours per year, and scheduled to become fully operational in 2023, the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Turkish republic. 


Reminding that Russia is giving nuclear energy training to 250 Turkish experts, Kiriyenko emphasized that Russia will help Turkey for technical and infrastructural aspects. 


Turkey's Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources sends nuclear engineering students to Russia every year, who will be trained for seven years in nuclear power plants, nuclear theory and language skills, and will later staff Turkey's first nuclear power plant.


Risks of nuclear power

Kiriyenko stated that they are well aware of the security concerns with nuclear power plants, recalling the Fukushima nuclear disaster. 


Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan was hit by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, causing a meltdown and radiation leak that affected its region and east coast of Japan in the Pacific.


"We have drawn valuable lessons from Fukushima, and preparing our security measures accordingly. We must be ready against the strongest natural disasters, and on the possibility of them happening concurrently," Kiriyenko said. 


Kiriyenko will visit Turkish capital Ankara on December 1 to attend the fifth meeting of the Turkish-Russian High Level Cooperation Council.