Core catcher for Akkuyu

30 September 2014

Russia has designed an advanced core melt trap, or core catcher, for the Akkuyu nuclear power plant that is specific to conditions in Turkey, Atomenergoproekt (AEP), the principal designer for the project, said today.

A core catcher is a device provided to catch the molten core material - corium - of a reactor in case of a meltdown and prevent it from escaping the containment building.

Alexander Sidorov, head of AEP's integrated design bureau, introduced the design to Turkish workers on the Akkuyu project.

The core catcher for the Akkuyu project has features that include greater seismic robustness and easier installation than core catchers installed at other Russia-designed plants, Sidorov said, according to a statement by Rosatom. The "upgraded design" enables the reactor to withstand "greater safe shutdown earthquake loads" and to run without electricity supply for up to 72 hours, he said. It also has a "more efficient cooling system".

The new design will be 15% lighter than the core catcher installed at Novovoronezh nuclear power plant II in Russia. It will also take one month less to install.

Rosatom installed its first core catcher at Tianwan nuclear power plant in China and Kudankulam nuclear power plant in India. Leningrad II and Baltic nuclear power plant also have core catchers.

The devices are made by the Volgodonsk branch of AEM-Technology.

Rosatom signed an agreement in 2011 to build and operate a four-reactor plant in Mersin province on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, with the aim of having the plant fully-operational by the Turkish republic's 100-year anniversary in 2023.

Construction work is currently expected to begin on the first of Akkuyu's four 1200 MWe Gidropress-designed AES-2006 VVER pressurized water reactors in 2015 or 2016. The first unit is to start operations in 2020.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News