Commissioning permit issued for Akkuyu 1

14 December 2023

The Council of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NDK) of Turkiye has issued a commissioning permit for unit 1 of the Akkuyu NPP to project company Akkuyu Nukleer, part of Rosatom. The application was sent to NDK in two stages. The first set of documents was submitted to NDK on 17 March and the second on 24August. These included a comprehensive package confirming the readiness of the unit for commissioning.

Following a detailed review of the documentation, a commissioning permit was approved enabling start-up and adjustment works to begin the final stage of the construction, which provides a foundation for future safe operation. The next stage is to obtain an operating licence, which will permit fuel-loading and the start of pre-commissioning control operations. Akkuyu Nukleer specialists are currently developing the technical documentation required.

“Licensing is an exceptionally important stage that is required for all stages of the life cycle of a NPP – siting, design, construction, operation and decommissioning,” said Akkuyu Nukleer CEO Anastasia Zoteeva. “With respect to the Akkuyu NPP – the first NPP in Turkey - we are completing 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.” She affirmed that the commissioning permit confirms that all the requirements of Turkish legislation and international standards for the construction of NPPs has been met. She acknowledged the efforts of the specialists who prepared the application documentation, NDK experts who participated in the review and the builders and installers who ensured unit 1 was ready for commissioning on schedule.

Akkuyu 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.

Meanwhile, Akkuyu Nukleer experts have installed all the internal reactor components in place. Large-sized equipment installed inside the reactor vessel using the polar crane included:

  • an internal shaft (which will contain the reactor core);
  • a baffle (designed to distance the fuel assemblies and limit the impact of neutron radiation on the vessel); and
  • A block of protective tubes (which will fix the fuel assemblies in place).

At the final stage of assembly, the upper section with a cover was installed to seal the main connector of the reactor, as well as for the subsequent installation of control and protection systems, and in-reactor control sensors. Once assembled, the reactor weighing more than 600 tonnes, was 19.3 metres long with a diameter of 4.8 metres.

Image: Akkuyu nuclear power plant (courtesy of Akkuyu Nukleer)

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