Russian companies will start building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, at an estimated $20 billion cost, in 2013, Russian ambassador to Ankara Vladimir Ivanovsky has revealed.

“The launch of the plant’s first power unit is planned for 2018 while the other three will be launched with an interval of one year. The fourth power unit will be put into operation in 2021 and the plant’s reactors are designed to operate for 60 years. The project for the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant under the Russian design is a strategic area of Russian-Turkish co-operation,” the diplomat said.

Russia and Turkey signed an intergovernmental agreement on the construction and operation of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant during a visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Ankara on 12 May 2010.

The project stipulates the construction of four power units with a capacity of 1.2 GW each under the Russian design, using VVER pressurised water reactors. The power plant will be built by Russia’s Atomstroyexport civilian nuclear power corporation near the Mediterranean port of Mersin in the Akkuyu area.

The project stipulates the establishment of a nuclear engineering company to put the plant into operation..