Melt trap installed at Akkuyu 4

13 October 2023

A melt localisation device (melt trap or core catcher) has been installed at unit 4 of the Akkuyu NPP under construction in Turkiye. This is paves the way for construction of the reactor shaft. The melt trap is a 144-tonne container in the form of a steel cone with a height of 6.14 metres and a diameter of 5.83 metres. The equipment is designed to reliably hold and prevent fragments of the melted core from escaping into the environment in the event of an emergency. During operation it is filled with special materials which, when interacting the nuclear fuel will cause it to lose some accumulated heat. Then further chemical processes instantly stop the chain reaction and the fuel is cooled. The device has increased seismic resistance, hydrodynamic strength and impact strength.

Rosatom is constructing Akkuyu, Turkiye's first NPP, which will eventually host four VVER-1200 reactors. The project is being developed according to a build-own-operate model and is fully funded by Russia. However, Rosatom has the right to sell up to 49% in the project shares to other investors. 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 for operation in October 2024.

First Deputy General Director of project company Akkuyu Nukleer JSC, Sergei Butskikh said the Akkuyu NPP “s growing, developing and changing before our eyes every day”. He added: “We are the largest nuclear construction site in the world, with four power units being built simultaneously using modern technologies. The melt localisation device is a unique technological development that ensures safety for the environment and people in any scenario of plant operation. The installation was carried out with the well-coordinated teamwork of Turkish and Russian specialists.” He noted that manufacture and installation of the trap was subject to strict quality control at all stages.

Image: The melt trap is lowered into place at Akkuyu unit 4 (courtesy of Akkuyu Nuklear)

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