Turkey has officially launched the construction of its first nuclear power plant.
The Russian-designed Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant in Mersin on the Mediterranean coast is the first of three nuclear plants the country plans to build.
Turkey hopes the $22 billion (£14.3bn) project will boost its economy and reduce its dependence on fossil fuel imports.
Construction on the first 1,200MW reactor has begun.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız was reported as saying: “[Economic] development cannot take place in a country without nuclear energy. If the Akkuyu plant had been built a decade ago, Turkey would have saved $14 billion (£9bn) in natural gas purchases and nuclear power would today cover 28% of the country’s electricity demand.”
The project is expected to create around 10,000 jobs and be completed by the end of the decade.