Turkey's future nuclear plants, expected to be in operation in 2019 and 2023 respectively, will help the country cut 7.2 billion dollars off its energy imports, the amount Turkey pays every year to produce the equivalent energy yield from natural gas.
Turkey launched its efforts to acquire nuclear power in 1960, but made real progress only when it signed a deal in 2010 with state-owned Russian Rosatom for the construction of a nuclear plant in the southern province of Mersin.
The country has recently taken what is seen as the second major step in its nuclear bid, entering into an agreement with Japan, announced on Friday in a press conference by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, on a nuclear power plant project in the northernmost province of Sinop, planned to be completed by the country's centennial anniversary in 2023.
Importing 98 percent of fuels it uses for energy production, Turkey plans to substitute as much of its energy production from natural gas with nuclear energy, with the objective of increasing its share up to 15 percent in the country's total energy mix by 2030.
The new power plants are expected to generate a combined yearly output of 80 billion kWh, which Turkey currently buys 16 billion cubic meters of natural gas to generate, resulting in an energy bill of $7.2 billion.
Turkey aims to have an installed capacity of 110-130,000 MW in 2023, with energy consumption clocking in at 500 billion kWh.
Reporting by Bulent Karaaslan