Commissioning work is beginning at Akkuyu 1

09 April 2024

The first unit at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey is now entering the commissioning stage, with the aim of it supplying Turkey's energy system in 2025, Rosatom says.

(Image: Rosatom)

The Director General of the Russian nuclear corporation, Alexei Likhachev, said the work on the nuclear island was going according to plan, adding: "This year we will fully check all systems - the primary circuit, conduct hydraulic tests, and load fuel simulators directly into the reactor."

Turkey's Nuclear Regulatory Agency issued permission for Akkuyu's first power unit to be commissioned in December, and in February it was announced that the reactor compartment had been prepared for controlled assembly of the reactor - and the generator stator had also been installed in its pre-design position.

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.

During his visit to the site on Monday, Likhachev said: "We are doing everything to ensure that next year the first unit of the Akkuyu NPP becomes part of the energy system of the Republic of Turkey. All our efforts and the work of Turkish companies are aimed at this. There are a great many of them here, and they demonstrate, of course, great professionalism and the same mobilisation."

In their update on progress, the company reported that specialists are installing a reloading machine that will be involved in loading and unloading fuel from the reactor. Assembly of electric motors for the main circulation pump units is also taking place, and the fresh fuel storage facility and the first part of the training centre are operating.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, commissioning is "the process by means of which systems and components of facilities and activities, having been constructed, are made operational and verified to be in accordance with the design and to have met the required performance criteria". The process includes testing and monitoring before, and throughout the start-up steps, to ensure the reliable and safe operation of a new nuclear power plant.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News