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IAEA Chief Highlights Sustainable Energy as First Nuclear Fuel Arrives in Türkiye


The site of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant in Türkiye visited by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi on the occasion of the arrival of the first fuel.

The Republic of Türkiye has taken great steps to ensure its energy sustainability with nuclear power, said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi at a ceremony yesterday to mark the arrival of the first fuel at the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) — Türkiye’s first nuclear power plant, which is planned to be in operation soon.

“This enormous undertaking is a testament to Türkiye’s economic and technological progress, and it is a manifestation of the confidence with which Türkiye is moving into the future,” Mr Grossi said in his address at the ceremony, attended virtually by the Presidents of Türkiye and the Russian Federation. “Nuclear power plants like Akkuyu are built because we know a prospering economy will need them. And they are built because we are committed to meeting the climate goals that will make this prosperity sustainable.” 

Mr Grossi also visited the Akkuyu NPP construction site in Mersin, Türkiye’s largest seaport, about 500 km south of the capital Ankara. When completed, the nuclear power plant will have a gross electrical capacity of 4800 MW(e), which will diversify the country’s energy mix and decrease reliance on energy imports. Last year, the IAEA conducted an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission to review the national legal and regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety regarding safe operation of Türkiye’s nuclear and radiation facilities and activities. Besides the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, the country currently has two research reactors and a waste management facility, and uses radiation sources in medicine and industry.

During his address at Akkuyu, Mr Grossi acknowledged the nuclear safety and security risks currently facing Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Zaporizhzhya NPP, noting that “nuclear energy should always be a force for good" and reminding the audience that “we are facing unprecedented danger of a nuclear accident in Ukraine. To make sure it does not happen, I look to support from everyone, here and beyond.”

The IAEA will continue to work with Türkiye with respect to, among other areas, legal assistance, capacity building and the establishment of a nuclear safety culture, including through further IAEA peer review missions. IAEA peer review missions, which are available upon request, involve teams of international, multidisciplinary experts who compare actual practices with IAEA standards for nuclear safety and international good practices, as well as with IAEA guidance for security and operation.

Mr Grossi also met with Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Türkiye Fatih Dönmez, who expressed his gratitude to the IAEA for the technical support to Akkuyu NPP. Mr Grossi highlighted the solid and robust institutional setup in Türkiye to ensure that Akkuyu is a great success and that the IAEA will continue to accompany Türkiye through missions and advisory services to support the highest standards for Akkuyu, including of nuclear safety and security.

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