Erdogan, Putin remotely start nuclear reactor construction

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ISTANBUL — The presidents of Turkey and Russia remotely inaugurated the construction of a third nuclear reactor at the Akkuyu power plant in southern Turkey Wednesday, vowing to continue their close co-operation .

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the plant would launch Turkey into the ”league of nuclear energy countries” and called it a “symbol of Turkish-Russian co-operation .”

Russia is building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant on the Mediterranean coast in Mersin province. The two countries signed a co-operation agreement in 2010 and began construction in 2018.

Turkey is largely dependent on power imports. Energy Minister Fatih Donmez, said the plant would fulfil about 10% of domestic electricity needs.

Erdogan said the first reactor would become operational in 2023, to coincide with the centennial of the modern Turkish state. A total of four reactors are planned.

The Turkish president also said co-operation between Ankara and Moscow played a “key role” in regional stability.

“We have had the opportunity to see the results of Turkish-Russian dialogue in many fields, including in Libya, in Nagorno-Karabakh, in Syria,” Erdogan said. The two countries back opposing sides in these conflicts.

Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at the event via video-conference Wednesday.

Speaking from Moscow, Putin called the nuclear plant a “truly flagship project.”

The Associated Press