First selection of Atmea1 nuclear reactor

03 May 2013

Turkey stands to be the first country to use the Atmea1 reactor design by Areva and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). An accord signed today could see four of the units deployed at Sinop in the early 2020s.

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to the country today and the pair signed an agreement that provides for the construction of a new nuclear power plant at Sinop featuring Atmea1 pressurized water reactors.

The official Invest In Turkey website described the accord as granting "exclusive negotiating rights to build a nuclear power plant." The end result is expected to be a contract for up to four reactor units, at an expected cost of $22 billion, but this has not yet been confirmed.

The Atmea1 reactor is a 1100 MWe pressurized water reactor (PWR) which combines technologies from Areva and MHI. According to the companies, the design features long operation cycles, short refuelling outages and the load-following ability to adjust power output by 5% per minute. Safety features include both passive and active systems, including a core catcher.

The Atmea joint venture between Areva and MHI was set up in late 2007 centred on marketing Atmea1 to new and emerging nuclear power countries. Turkey's technology selection is the culmination of a process begun by the country's government in 2008 during which its state-controlled power sector has engaged with several reactor vendors and their home governments.

GDF Suez was first to confirm today's signature, saying it had "always pushed the development of [Atmea1], as it is perfectly suited to the requirements of many countries that want to develop or include nuclear power in their energy mix." GDF Suez will be "providing its expertise as a nuclear power developer and operator," it said. The Turkish utility partner is to be government-owned Elektrik Uretim (EUAS).

In Turkey it is the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (ETKB) that takes responsibility for meeting growing energy needs. Nuclear power is foreseen as taking an increasing role, eroding the dominance of gas imported from Russia and Iran that currently fuels 45% of power generation.

The national project is overseen by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). This oversees all nuclear activities, submits budgets to the prime minister, and sets the program for the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) which drew up the criteria for building and operating nuclear power plants.


Turkey begun its nuclear power program in May 2010 with a contract with the Russian nuclear industry to build four Gidropress AES-2006 1200 MWe pressurized water reactors at Akkuyu. These will be 75% owned by Russia and 25% by Turkey. Site preparation has already started and the units are slated to begin operation one by one from 2019.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News