Turkey has joined the club of nuclear power countries with the nuclear fuel delivery into the first power unit of the Akkuyu power plant, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
"With the delivery of nuclear fuel by sea and air to our plant, Akkuyu has now acquired the nuclear power plant status. Therefore, our country has risen to the league of countries with nuclear power, albeit after 60 years of delay," Erdogan said at a ceremony via video link, joined by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin online.
Akkuyu nuclear power plant, Turkey's first nuclear power plant, is being built by Russia's state nuclear energy company Rosatom in Mersin province on the southern Mediterranean coastline, reports Xinhua news agency.
Erdogan underlined that the power plant is "the biggest joint investment" between Turkey and Russia, and vowed that the Ankara government will take steps to build a second and a third nuclear power plant as soon as possible.
Putin, for his part, hailed the Akkuyu nuclear power plant as one of the most "important partnerships" between the two countries in their history.
"This is a flagship project and it brings both mutual economic benefits and, of course, helps to strengthen the multifaceted partnership between our two states," Putin said.
Erdogan "personally pays great attention to the expansion of Russian-Turkish relations", the Russian leader said.
A new nuclear industry is being established in Turkey thanks to the Akkuyu Power Plant, Putin said.
In 2010, the two countries reached a deal to let Russia's state company Rosatom build and operate the Akkuyu plant, which is designed with four nuclear reactor units, each with a capacity to generate 1,200 MW of electricity.
Under the deal, the Akkuyu plant was to be constructed with a Russian capital of $20 billion.
The construction began in 2018 and is scheduled to complete in 2026.
Once fully operational, the plant is expected to produce annually 35 billion kWh of electricity to meet approximately 10 per cent of domestic electricity needs.