General construction work has begun at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant site in Turkey. This is being taken as a positive sign that reactor construction will indeed commence in 2018, putting Turkey on track to be the next country to introduce nuclear energy into its mix after the UAE and Belarus. The most recent country to start up its first nuclear energy plant was Iran in 2011 and before that Romania in 1996.
An increasing number of newcomer countries are fully committing to their programmes, says the World Nuclear Association. Nuclear energy has been planned in the country for several decades but previous attempts to get projects underway proved unsuccessful. “Nuclear energy will help drive economic growth in the country and reduce reliance on imported gas” commented Agneta Rising, director general of the WNA. “More than 9 GWe of new nuclear capacity came online in 2016, the largest annual increase for over 25 years, and global nuclear generation rose for the fourth successive year”.
Other counties progressing towards first-time nuclear plant construction include Poland, which plans to begin a reactor technology selection process in 2018, and Saudi Arabia, which is expected to launch a reactor tendering process within the next month.