(Bloomberg) -- Construction of a $20 billion nuclear power project in Turkey has “stalled,” its main contractor IC Holding has warned, after Rosatom Corp. removed it in favor of a local company owned by Russian firms.

Time is being lost due to “the Russians’ current stance,” and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has intervened to solve the issue, IC board member Murat Cecen said in an interview with Haberturk. IC employs some 80% of the 25,000 workers at the site.

“When we stopped, everything stopped,” Cecen told Haberturk. “We’re doing nothing.”

Akkuyu Nukleer AS, a Rosatom subsidiary, last month annulled an engineering, procurement and construction contract with IC, replacing it with a Turkey-incorporated builder. The state-run Russian nuclear corporation has said that changing the contractor won’t delay the Akkuyu project. IC previously signaled it could go to court. 

Turkish Nuclear Project Hit by Ousted Contractor’s Court Threat

Turkey is building the 4,800-megawatt plant near the Mediterranean port city of Mersin to cut its reliance on imported energy. The country’s energy bill this year is projected to reach $100 billion. The government hopes to see the first of four reactors at Akkuyu operational in 2023.

The Turkish leader last met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Aug. 5 in Sochi, with the developments at Akkuyu among the matters discussed. Four days later, Erdogan paid a visit to the construction site, but no statement was issued after he met Rosatom executives there. 

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