Turkey's Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NDK) has issued permission to the Akkuyu nuclear power plant to commission the first power unit.

Akkuyu is Turkey's first nuclear power plant (Image: Akkuyu NPP)

Application documentation was submitted to NDK in two stages in March and August, ahead of the approval which has now come from the NDK's council. The permit makes it possible to proceed to the start-up, set-up and operation processes, which are the final stage of the nuclear power plant (NPP) construction and form the basis for the future safe operation of the plant.

Anastasia Zoteeva, CEO of Akkuyu Nuclear JSC, said: "Licensing is an extremely important stage that permeates all stages of the life-cycle of a nuclear power plant: site selection, design, construction, operation and decommissioning. In the case of Akkuyu NPP, the first nuclear power plant in Turkey, we are going through all licensing stages for the first time. At the same time, the national regulator relies on the experience of issuing licences and other permits in Russia, where four similar power units with VVER-1200 reactors are already successfully operating.

"The decision of the Turkish Nuclear Regulatory Agency to issue a permit to commission the first unit of the Akkuyu NPP confirms that we have fulfilled all the requirements of Turkish legislation, international standards for the construction of nuclear power plants, and are ready to move on ... With the receipt of permission to commission the first unit of the Akkuyu NPP, we are entering a new, important and responsible stage in the life of the project."

Last week all the reactor internals of the first unit were installed in the design position for conformity inspection -  the assembled reactor is 19.3 metres long, with a diameter of 4.8 metres and a weight of 600 tonnes. The next step for licensing will be obtaining one to operate the unit, which will allow nuclear fuel to begin to be loaded into the reactor.

The Akkuyu plant, in the southern Mersin province, is Turkey's first nuclear power plant. Rosatom is building four VVER-1200 reactors, under a so-called BOO (build-own-operate) model. According to the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey, the commissioning of the first power unit of the nuclear power plant must take place within seven years from receipt of all permits for the construction of the unit.

The licence for the construction of the first unit was issued in 2018, with construction work beginning that year. Nuclear fuel was delivered to the site in April this year, with Rosatom Director General Alexei Likhachev saying that the aim was to carry out a physical start-up in 2024. The 4800 MWe plant is expected to meet about 10% of Turkey's electricity needs, with the aim that all four units will be operational by the end of 2028.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Wednesday, 13 December 2023
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Akkuyu-unit-1-gets-commissioning-permit