The dome of the internal containment (VZO) has been installed in the design position at unit 1 of the Akkuyu NPP under construction in Turkey. Anastasia Zoteeva, CEO of project company Akkuyu Nukleer said 2022 was not an easy year, but was nevertheless “very successful and productive”. Installation of the internal containment dome “is an important stage in the construction of the first power unit”. She thanked the construction team “for meeting deadlines, for high quality”, adding that “we are all going through an important milestone together. She noted: “We are getting closer to the key event of next year – the delivery of fresh nuclear fuel to the Akkuyu NPP site. We still have to install the outer containment and perform other acceptance work before completing the construction of unit 1 in time for the centenary of the Republic of Turkiye.”

The VZO dome comprises 16 mounting sections weighing 215 tons. The structure of the dome also includes the metal structure of the platforms for servicing the sprinkler system weighing 46 tons. For lifting the dome to a height of more than 61 metres, a traverse support weighing 75 tons was developed and manufactured. The total weight of the structure lifted by the Liebherr LR 13000 crane was 340 tons. Assembly of the dome, which was performed at the Akkuyu NPP site took 3.5 months. After concreting the dome, the final stage of construction and installation of the outer containment will begin.

Construction and installation work at the site are ongoing at all sections of the main and auxiliary facilities under construction. These include four power units, on-shore hydraulic engineering structures, power distribution systems, administrative buildings, a training centre, and physical protection facilities. All construction stages at the Akkuyu NPP site are thoroughly monitored by independent inspection organisations and Turkey's Nuclear Regulatory Authority.

Akkuyu is Turkey's first NPP and will eventually host four units of 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. Rosatom is building the reactors under a build-own-operate model. The 4800MWe plant when completed is expected to meet about 10% of Turkey's electricity needs. Under the governmental agreement between Russia and Turkey, unit 1should be commissioned within seven years of obtaining all construction authorisations and licences. As the construction licence for unit 1 was obtained in 2018, the formal deadline is 2025. However, the project stakeholders are making every effort to complete the unit and ensure its readiness for commissioning in 2023, which is a jubilee year Turkey.

Image: The dome being lifted into position at unit 1 of the Akkuyu NPP (courtesy of Akkuyu Nuclear)