Russia’s state nuclear energy firm Rosatom has awarded TSM Enerji the contract to undertake the remaining construction work at Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, the company said on Saturday.
Akkuyu Nükleer, a Rosatom subsidiary that is building four reactors at the site on the Mediterranean coast, said it had signed the engineering, procurement and construction contract with TSM after terminating its agreement with Turkish firm IC Içtaş.
Mersin-based TSM is owned by three Russia-based companies, according to the Turkish trade registry.
“All works under current subcontracts will be transferred to TSM... Similar new contracts will be signed between TSM and subcontractors,” Akkuyu Nükleer said in a statement, without saying why the IC Içtaş agreement had been terminated.
It said the contract with TSM would ensure work was completed by previously agreed dates and that workers were paid on time.
IC Içtaş on Friday accused Rosatom of attempting to “reduce Turkish corporate presence” on the project, according to a statement cited by Bloomberg News.
In Saturday’s statement, Akkuyu Nükleer CEO Anastasia Zoteeva said the number of Turkish companies and workers will continue to rise.
The Turkish government aims to start operating the first reactor at the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) by the middle of 2023, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey.
The remaining three reactors are due to start operation by the end of 2026, at a rate of one per year to ultimately have a total installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts (MW).
Once completed, the plant is expected to produce up to 10% of domestic electricity needs.
The plant in its current shape is one of the largest construction sites in the world.
The plant, which will have an estimated service life of 60 years with a possibility to extend it for another 20 years, will produce carbon-free energy around the clock.
As a baseload plant, it will play a leading role in reducing dependence on imported energy resources, especially natural gas.
The giant project is expected to employ around 15,000 people during its peak construction period, and about 4,000 people during its operations.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has previously suggested that Turkey could work with Russia on the construction of two further plants.
Akkuyu is the world’s first nuclear power plant project implemented through a build-own-operate model. Under the long-term contract, Rosatom has agreed to provide the power plant’s design, construction, maintenance, operation and decommissioning.
The firm holds a 99.2% stake in the project that is estimated to cost around $20 billion, marking the biggest investment in Turkey’s history implemented at a single site.
Rosatom has been reported to have sent around $5 billion to Akkuyu Nükleer last week. Two other similar dollar transfers are planned in a matter of weeks, Bloomberg News reported Friday, citing senior Turkish officials with direct knowledge of the matter.