Rosatom has begun commissioning activities at unit 1 of the Akkuyu NPP under construction in Turkiye. A delegation of Rosatom officials, led by Director General Alexey Likhachev, paid a working visit to the construction site to assess progress of the work. They visited the nuclear and turbine island facilities of unit 1, as well as the onshore hydraulic structures of the NPP. Likhachev held a working meeting with the General Director of project company Akkuyu Nukleer, Anastasia Zoteeva, and other project managers, for detailed discussions.

"On the nuclear island work is going according to plan,” said Likhachev. “This year, we will fully test all systems including the primary circuit, conduct hydraulic tests, and load fuel simulators directly into the reactor. We are doing our best to ensure that next year unit 1 of the Akkuyu NPP will become part of the energy system of the Republic of Turkey.”

He added: “All our efforts and the work of Turkish companies are focused on this. There are a great many of them here, and they demonstrate, of course, great professionalism and the same mobilisation.” This comes a few weeks after some of the subcontractors at the plant took industrial action in face of delayed wage payments. Tension with subcontractors has periodically caused problems and delays at the Akkuyu NPP.

Rosatom said Akkuyu NPP specialists had completed hydraulic tests of the fuel holding pool, and were assembling a reloading machine that will be used for loading and unloading fuel from the reactor. The assembly of electric motors for the main circulation pumping units is well underway. In the near future, an important operation will take place to tighten the steel ropes of the prestressing system of the protective shell. This will significantly increase the strength and reliability of the reactor building.

In parallel with the work on the main facilities, auxiliary infrastructure is being commissioned at the construction site as planned, and general station buildings are being constructed. The fresh fuel storage facility and the first stage of the training centre are operating normally, where four shifts of NPP operators have already been trained. The operational workshops are gradually being completed. The construction of chemical water treatment facilities, steam supply systems, and heat utilities is being completed. Equipment is being installed at the unit 1pumping station, and the main lifting mechanisms have been put into operation.

Rosatom said commissioning works are the final stage at unit 1. They include a set of configuration, monitoring and testing operations to ensure reliable and safe operation. “Another important task of commissioning is to achieve the design parameters before putting various systems and equipment into operation,” Rosatom noted.

Akkuyu, Turkiye's first NPP, will eventually host four Russian-designed VVER-1200 reactors. The pouring of first concrete for unit 1 took place in April 2018, for unit 2 in June 2020, for unit 3 in March 2021, and for unit 4 in July 2022. Completion of unit 1 is expected in the third quarter of 2023. Rosatom is constructing the reactors according to a build-own-operate model. To date, the project is fully funded by the Russian side. However, Rosatom has the right to sell a share of up to 49% in the project to other investors.

Under the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement between Russian and the Turkiye, commissioning of unit 1 was scheduled to take place within seven years after receiving all necessary permits. As the construction licence for unit 1 was issued in 2018, commissioning is therefore formally due by 2025. However, every effort is being made to ensure that it will be ready in time for Turkiye’s centenary celebrations in 2023.

Image courtesy of Rosatom