Clean area prepared for reactor assembly at Akkuyu 1

13 February 2024

A “clean area” has been prepared in the reactor compartment of unit 1 of the Akkuyu NPP under construction in Turkiye. This is a prepared workspace for the control assembly of the reactor install the equipment needed to load the simulated reactor core before cold and hot testing begins. Specialists of project company Akkuyu Nukleer set up the area in accordance with the requirements of the technical regulations. Construction materials have been removed from the working area; multiple wet cleaning is conducted on a daily basis; and limited access of all but essential personnel has been arranged. The reactor pressure vessel for unit 1 was delivered to the site in November 2023.

"In December 2023, we received a commissioning permit for Akkuyu unit 1, which enabled us to begin start-up-and-adjustment operations,” said Sergei Butskikh, First Deputy General Director of Akkuyu Nukleer and Director of NPP construction “There is currently active preparation for controlled assembly of the reactor, of which the clean area arrangement has become an important part. Its establishment means completion of general construction works in the containment of reactor building of Akkuyu 1. Compliance with the industrial cleanliness regulations prevents penetration of foreign items and construction materials and makes it possible to comply with all mandatory safety requirements during equipment assembly. We are starting installation of reactor components for loading dummy fuel assemblies.”

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 should take place within seven years after receiving all necessary permits. As the construction licence for unit 1 was issued in 2018, commissioning is 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.

Meanwhile, Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev led a Rosatom delegation to Akkuyu for talks with Turkiye’s Ministry of Energy & Natural Resources. Likhachev visited the engine room of Akkuyu 1 where installation if underway of the turbogenerator stator in its pre-project position. He also inspected the construction site and held a meeting with project managers. He confirmed that unit 1 is more than 90% complete in “strict accordance with the schedule”.

All equipment for the nuclear island is installed and in the engine room the turbogenerator stator is in place, he noted. He said: “The reactor is a kind of heart that pushes blood through the station. And this blood nourishes the muscle, which is the turbine and generator.” He added that training for the plant is being accelerated and that the plant’s training centre, the most modern in the world, has already been launched.

Installation of the turbogenerator stator was completed just before Likhachev’s visit. This is the heaviest component of NPP equipment weighing about 430 tonnes, with a length o 12 metres and a 4.2-metre diameter. It was delivered to the engine room on a special wheel platform. It was lifted using a hydraulic rig system. In preparation for this large-scale operation, the ceiling of the engine room was strengthened, special columns with a height of more than 18 metres were installed, and the rail track was mounted, along which the stator was transported to the installation site. Now pumps, pipelines and other equipment are being installed.

Image (top left) courtesy of Akkuyu Nukleer

Image (right) courtesy of Rosatom

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