Work begins on foundation pit for unit 4 of the Akkuyu NPP

18 August 2021

Preparations have begun for the construction of unit 4 at the Akkuyu NPP site, Turkey's first nuclear power plant being built to Rosatom in Mersin Province. The works are carried out in accordance with the Limited Work Permit issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of Turkey on 30 June, the press service of project company Akkuyu Nuclear said on 11 August.

The pit excavation works for the construction of the reactor building, turbine building, auxiliary reactor building and other main facilities of unit 4 are being carried out on an area of ??655 m2. The pit depth at the lowest point will be approximately 12.5 metres. Workers are expected to remove around 600,000 cubic metres of soil in total. Pit digging work includes clearing and excavating rocky ground, as well as installing drainage. There are currently more than 20 construction equipment such as excavators, dump trucks, drilling machines in the construction area.

Sergei Butskikh, First Deputy General Manager of Akkuyu Nuclear and Director of Plant Construction, said, “This year, we hope to obtain a construction licence for unit 4 and start full-scale construction work on the unit early next year. By the end of the year, concrete pouring will begin for the foundation plates of the reactor and turbine buildings, after which the plates will be strengthened. Akkuyu NPP will be the world's largest nuclear construction site where four power units will be built simultaneously. This is unprecedented in the history of the world nuclear industry. The simultaneous construction of the four power units of the NPP will require high resource concentration, but we are fully prepared for it.”

As part of the pit digging process, soil improvement works are also being carried out. In this context, a massive water-cement mixture is being pumped and jet grouting is used in some areas. Cement mortar is pumped into the soil under high pressure, resulting in the soil reaching the desired bearing capacity. Thus, a massive pile is formed, which ensures that the buildings and structures built are safe and meet international standards.

Rosatom is building four VVER-1200 reactors at Akkuyu, under a build-own-operate model. Construction of the first unit began in 2018, with start-up planned for 2023. The 4800 MWe plant when completed is expected to meet about 10% of Turkey's electricity needs.

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