First concrete has been poured for unit 4 at the Akkuyu NPPP under construction in Turkey.  The ceremony, marking the start of construction of Russian-supplied VVER-1200 reactor was attended by Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez, Head of the Energy Committee of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Ziya Altunyaldiz, Governor of Mersin Province Ali Hamza Pehlivan, Chairman of the Turkish Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NDK) Zafer Demircan, General Director of Rosatom State Corporation Alexei Likhachev, General Director of Akkuyu Nuclear JSC Anastasia Zoteeva and others.

Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said Akkuyu NPP is Turkey’s largest ever single investment, adding that, with all four units of the in operation it provide up to 10% of total energy consumption and avoid 128 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

“Akkuyu NPP is the flagship foreign project of Rosatom State Corporation, said Rosatom’s Likhachev. “This is our largest construction project: the construction of nuclear infrastructure facilities will now be carried out at four NPP units at once….I can say with confidence that the fruitful cooperation between the companies of our countries, the interest of the Turkish industry, the creation of an efficient supply chain make our project a model of interaction between Russia and Turkey.”  

He added: "Construction and installation work at the facilities of the plant's physical protection system is proceeding as planned. We plan to complete the first stage in November 2022. This will ensure readiness for the most important stage - the delivery of fresh nuclear fuel for unit 1 of the station in May 2023."

The construction licence for unit 4 was issued by the Turkish Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NDK) in October 2021. Concreting was preceded by a whole range of preparatory work: dewatering, excavation of a foundation pit, installation of a concrete cushion and waterproofing, reinforcement of the foundation and installation of embedded parts. The foundation is divided into 16 zones, the  height of concreting will be 2.6 metres and in total 17,000 cubic metres of concrete mix will be laid in the base of the unit. The concreting process will be carried out under supervision of the laboratory specialists of the concreting plant, representatives of project company Akkuyu Nuclear JSC, main construction contractor TITAN 2 IJ ICHTASH INSHAAT, and independent construction control organisations.

Work is at different stages across all areas of the site. At unit 1, concreting of the foundation slabs of the reactor compartment and turbine hall has been completed; a melt trap, the reactor pressure vessel, steam generators and main circulation pump casings have been installed; welding of the main circulation pipeline has been completed; five tiers of the inner containment (ICE) have been assembled; the 6th tier of the lower part of the dome is being assembled; and the polar crane is being pre-assembled. At unit 2, a melt trap has been installed; concreting has been completed on the foundation slabs of the reactor compartment and turbine hall; and three tiers of the inner containment have been assembled. At unit 3,  the foundation of the turbine building and the reactor compartment has been concreted, and a melt trap installed.

Hundreds of Turkish enterprises are involved in the construction, supplying materials, equipment, services, and also undertaking various types of work. The volume of orders to Turkish suppliers today already exceeds $3 billion. The project makes a significant contribution to the development of the region's infrastructure and employment growth. To date, 246 of 317 students have completed nuclear power education in Russia and are now working at Akkuyu, while the remaining 71 are continuing their education in Russia.

More than 20,000 people are currently employed at the construction site, 80% of whom are Turkish citizens. These include workers from the project region   - over the past year, more than 600 residents of the Gulnar district have been employed at the site. According to the assessment of the Social Protection and State Insurance Fund of the Republic of Turkey, Akkuyu NPP is the largest employer in Mersin province. All work is carried out in close cooperation with the Energy Ministry, NDK, the Turkish Agency for Research in Energy, Atomic Energy and Mining (Tenmak), and other relevant government departments.

Meanwhile, the Volgodonsk branch of AEM-technology, Atommash (part of Rosatom’s mechanical engineering division Atomenergomash) said on 21 July it had manufactured the bottom of the reactor vessel for Akkuyu 4. The operation took place in two stages. First, the forging was unbent at Atommash's thermopressing section: a forged steel billet in the form of a pipe was bent into a sheet of metal under the pressure of the press. The second stage of the operation is the "extraction" of the bottom. The round billet weighing 64 tons and 300mm thick underwent three-stage heating for six hours at a maximum temperature of 1020 degrees. Then, with the help of a crane, the billet was transferred to the die equipment and the bottom of the reactor was formed with a press force of 10,000 tons.

In 2010, Turkey and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the construction and operation the Akkuyu nuclear plant in Mersin province. Rosatom is building four VVER-1200 reactors at the site, under a build-own-operate model. Construction of the first unit began in 2018, with start-up planned for 2023.

Date: Tuesday, 26 July 2022
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