The first shifts of personnel have begun pre-licensing training using a full-scale simulator in the new building of the training centre at the Akkuyu NPP under construction in Turkiye. Practical experience on a simulator is the final stage of the training programme for plant personnel, Natalya Shulepova, project director at the Rosatom Technical Academy, explained. “After completing the training, Akkuyu Nuclear JSC employees will have to pass certification exams to obtain a licence from the Turkish Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NDK),” she said.

“Previously, specialists studied the systems and equipment at an operating power unit of the reference Novovoronezh NPP and became familiar with the differences between that plant and the Akkuyu NPP,” she noted. During simulator training, personnel are able to investigate in real time all scenarios for the operation of the power unit, including emergency situations.”

A full-scale simulator is a software and hardware complex for power supply and control systems for nuclear reactors. All instruments and consoles are identical to the equipment of the control panel of the Akkuyu NPP power unit. The information displayed on monitors and indicators is provided to the operator in the same form and values ​​as on the real power unit.

The simulator was put into operation at the end of October. As Salih Sary, head of the Department of Nuclear Infrastructure Development at Turkiye’s Ministry of Energy & Natural Resources  noted, the simulator will enable training of thousands of NPP operators and engineers over the coming decades.

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 the Russian Federation and the Republic of 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. In accordance with the contract, 1,300 specialists will be trained by the Rosatom Technical Academy to support the operation and maintenance of units 1&2 of the station.

Image: The full-scale simulator in the training centre at Akkuyu nuclear power plant (courtesy of Rosatom)