IAEA completes external hazards review for Turkey

01 August 2017

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts has concluded a five-day Site and External Events Design (SEED) mission to Turkey, which plans to build its first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu in Mersin Province. The first of four 1200 MWe Russian VVER units is scheduled to receive its operational licence in 2023.

The SEED team reviewed matters related to design protection against external hazards of the planned Akkuyu plant on Turkey's southern coast. Possible hazards reviewed included tsunamis, geotechnical hazards relating to the foundation and soil, earthquakes and aircraft crashes.

The Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) requested the mission, which followed up on a SEED review in 2015 of site parameters relevant to the plant's design protection against external hazards. The latest mission was completed on 28 July.

"The timing of this mission was important as TAEK is engaged in its regulatory review of the licensing documentation," said Shin Morita, head of the Vienna-based agency's External Events Safety Section. "The mission also provided insight into the application of IAEA's safety standards," he added, referring to a set of documents that reflect an international consensus on what is considered a high level of nuclear and radiation safety.

The SEED team was made up of two experts, from Germany and Spain, and two IAEA staff members. The team held talks in Ankara with TAEK President Zafer Alper as well as with safety experts at the regulatory authority, and technical experts with the future operator as well as other technical-support specialists.

Fatih Alim, director of the Nuclear Safety Department at TAEK, said the SEED mission had provided "very useful support" in strengthening TAEK's safety review capabilities needed for the ongoing licensing process for the Akkuyu plant.

Among good practice the team identified, the preliminary safety analysis report (PSAR) includes provisions, both for the design basis and beyond the design basis, needed for safety margins analysis, for earthquakes, tsunamis and aircraft-crash scenarios. It recommended that the PSAR be updated to reflect the latest revisions of the hazard studies and should clearly indicate the methodology for demonstrating safety margins.

In accordance with IAEA practice, the final mission report will be delivered to the Turkish government within three months.

Designed to assist IAEA Member States at different stages in the development of a nuclear power program, the SEED safety review service offers a choice of modules on which to focus the review, such as site selection and assessment, and the design of structures, systems and components against site external hazards.

Turkey, with a population of around 80 million people, has embarked on a nuclear power program to meet an increasing demand for electricity and to support economic development.

JSC Akkuyu NPP, the Russian-owned company responsible for the Akkuyu plant, has been awarded a 49-year electricity generation licence. The company received a preliminary licence, enabling it to start investment and permitting procedures for the project, in June 2015. Turkey's energy market regulatory authority (EPDK) said then that JSC Akkuyu NPP would receive a production licence - needed to start generating electricity from the plant - once it met the requirements outlined in that document. The production licence was awarded on 15 June.

The project to build four 1200 MWe Gidropress-designed AES-2006 VVER pressurized water reactors is being financed by Russia under a build-own-operate model, in accordance with an intergovernmental agreement Turkey and Russia signed in 2010. The plant is scheduled to start operations on 29 October, 2023 - the centenary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey.

According to Sputnik news agency, Russia's investments in the project will amount to $22 billion.

On 19 June, a consortium of Turkish companies signed an agreement with Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom on the main conditions for acquiring a 49% stake in JSC Akkuyu Nuclear. The agreement - signed by Cengiz Holding, Kolin İnşaat Turizm Sanayi ve Ticaret AŞ and JSC "Kalyon İnşaat" - was signed on the side lines of the IX AtomExpo International Forum that Rosatom hosted in Moscow. It sets out the main conditions for the companies to buy a 49% stake in JSC Akkuyu Nuclear, currently wholly owned by Rosatom subsidiary JSC Rusatom Energy International.

A French-Japanese consortium between Areva and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plans to build Turkey's second nuclear power plant, in the northern Black Sea city of Sinop.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Filed under: IAEA, Regulation, New build, Turkey