Akkuyu NPP: Major Milestone in Construction

Construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant is going at full tilt as the first large-size piece of equipment arrived at the site. Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev and Fatih Dönmez, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey have recently visited the construction site. They attended the signing of an EPC contract between Akkuyu Nükleer and a joint Russian-Turkish company.

The first large-size cargo for Unit 1 arrived at the site of Akkuyu NPP. It was a core catcher, which is a 150-ton cone-shaped tank made of high temperature resistant steel. The core catcher will be installed under the reactor vessel.
During an on-site meeting with Alexey Likhachev, Fatih Dönmez commented on the event, “The core catcher designed for Generation III+ nuclear power stations, to which Akkuyu belongs, improves nuclear safety. This piece of equipment will be installed by the year end.”
The core catcher is an essential component of passive safety systems for Generation III+ nuclear power plants. According to Anastasia Zoteeva, CEO of Akkuyu Nükleer, the Akkuyu design provides for a combination of active and passive safety systems ensuring safety of the plant regardless of external conditions.
“It is only fitting that the first piece of large-size equipment delivered to the site is a component of safety systems. The foundation for safe and reliable operation of a nuclear power plant is laid long before it is connected to the grid. Following nuclear safety principles form the very first day of the project and continuous monitoring of the construction and installation process are critical and indispensable. This essential approach holds true throughout the design life of the plant,” Anastasia Zoteeva said.
When visiting the site, Fatih Dönmez praised the progress achieved in the construction. The minister of energy stressed that the work was going in strict compliance with the operational safety principles and standards established by the IAEA. He also added that licensing and on-site inspections were the function of the Turkish Nuclear Regulatory Authority.

Alexey Likhachev and Fatih Dönmez discussed the possibility of local supplies for the project, engagement of Turkish companies, acquisition of a stake in Akkuyu Nükleer by third-party investors, and connection of Akkuyu NPP to the Turkish national power grid. The parties emphasized the strategic importance of the Akkuyu NPP project for both Turkey and Rosatom.
“What makes this project unique is the Build-Own-Operate approach. This is the world’s first nuclear project in which our company is responsible for every stage of the plant’s life, from design and construction to operation and decommissioning. For this reason, the project is viewed as a strategic investment, and we are now discussing matters related to the plant’s operation and connection to Turkey’s national power grid,” Alexey Likhachev said adding that Russia paid much attention to the cooperation with Turkish contractors and suppliers and training of the local staff.
An engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant was signed during Likhachev’s visit to the site. According to the contract, Akkuyu Nükleer acts as a customer, while the contractor is a joint venture of Russian TITAN-2 and Turkish construction company IC Ictas Insaat Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. The contract provides for the power plant design, procurement of machinery and equipment, and construction of most buildings and structures on the site.
Alexey Likhachev said that competencies of the contracted companies would make the construction process as effective as possible, “Our goal is to bring together Russian companies with expertise in nuclear construction and experienced Turkish builders. The partnership with a large Turkish construction company will facilitate those operations that are planned to be done locally.”

For reference
IC Ictas Insaat Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., the Turkish partner to the joint venture, is a leader of the Turkish infrastructural market with over 45 years’ expertise in construction. The company has extensive experience in the development of international construction projects.
TITAN-2 is a group of Russian nuclear engineering and construction companies. It acts as a general contractor for the construction of new reactor units at Leningrad NPP, as well as a major contractor for Hanhikivi 1 in Finland.
Akkuyu is the first nuclear power plant in Turkey. It will have four units with Russian-designed Generation III+ VVER-1200 reactors. Construction of Unit 1 started in April 2018. The first unit is planned to be launched in 2023, followed by one unit every subsequent year.