Akkuyu nuclear site TurkeyRussian state nuclear corporation Rosatom announced on 20 October that it had obtained an initial construction licence for the Akkuyu project, Turkey's first nuclear plant to be built in Mersin province, Southern Turkey.

Akkuyu Nuclear JSC applied to the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) in March for the construction licence for Akkuyu 1. The application documents included a Preliminary Safety Analysis Report of the Akkuyu plant, as well as a Probabilistic Safety Analysis and several other papers certifying the safety of the plant.

"The limited construction permit allows the start of construction and assembly operations at all sites of the NPP, excluding the buildings and facilities that are significant for the nuclear island" Rosatom said.

Rosatom expects to receive the main construction licence for Akkuyu by mid-2018, which will allow work on all buildings and facilities, as well as the installation of security systems.

The $20bn Akkuyu project includes construction of four power units with Gidropress-designed VVER-1200 reactors and a total capacity of 4800MWe.

The project is being financed by Russia under a build-own-operate model, as per an intergovernmental agreement signed between Russia and Turkey in May 2010. The plant is scheduled to start operations on 29 October 2023 – the centenary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey.

Yuri Galanchuk, CEO of Akkuyu Nuclear JSC, said obtaining the limited construction permit is a "significant step forward" for implementation of the Akkuyu project. "We are moving from the preparatory stage to construction activities at the site," Galanchuk said, noting that a major part of the works would be carried out by local subcontractors.

In June 2015,  Akkuyu NPP and Turkey's Cengiz İnşaat signed a contract on the design and building of off-shore hydraulic structures for the project.

This summer, the company also received a 49-year electricity generation licence from Turkey's energy market regulatory authority (EPDK).

Photo: The Akkuyu site in Turkey (Credit: Rosatom)