Akkuyu's first unit hits fresh landmarks

12 February 2024

The reactor compartment of Akkuyu nuclear power plant unit 1 in Turkey has been prepared for controlled assembly of the reactor - and the generator stator has also been installed in its pre-design position.

All four units are under construction at Akkuyu (Image: Rosatom)

Turkey's Nuclear Regulatory Agency issued permission for Akkuyu's first power unit to be commissioned in December and Rosatom says that a "clean area" has been established, with all construction materials removed and personnel access limited, which will now be in place for the lifetime of the unit

Sergei Butckikh, first deputy CEO of Akkuyu NPP, said: "There is currently active preparation for controlled assembly of the reactor - the clean area's ... creation means completion of general construction works in the containment of the reactor building ... we are commencing the installation of reactor components for loading dummy fuel assemblies and the cold-and-hot run-in phase."

Meanwhile, the generator stator and the base of the generating system are being installed in the turbine hall. The turbine generator stator weighs 430 tonnes, is 12 metres long with a 4.2 metre diameter, and Rosatom says it is the heaviest piece of equipment in the plant. A hydraulic rigging system was used, and a rail track built, as part of the process of transporting it to its design position. Pumps, pipelines and other equipment are also being installed in the turbine hall.

Alexei Likhachev, director general of Rosatom, who visited the site with Turkey's Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar, said: "The construction readiness of the first block is more than 90%. All equipment of the nuclear island has been installed. The installation of the stator and the base of the generating system is under way in the turbine room."

Akkuyu, in the southern Mersin province, is Turkey's first nuclear power plant. Rosatom is building four VVER-1200 reactors, under a so-called BOO (build-own-operate) model. According to the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey, the commissioning of the first power unit of the nuclear power plant must take place within seven years from receipt of all permits for the construction of the unit.

The licence for the construction of the first unit was issued in 2018, with construction work beginning that year. Nuclear fuel was delivered to the site in April 2023, with Likhachev saying that the aim was to carry out a physical start-up in 2024. The 4800 MWe plant is expected to meet about 10% of Turkey's electricity needs, with the aim that all four units will be operational by the end of 2028.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News