The construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant goes on schedule despite the coronavirus pandemic. Tighter measures are taken at the site to prevent the spread of COVID 19. Production of machinery and equipment for Akkuyu is continuing at Russian plants.
*Information provided in this article is relevant for April 16, 2020.
Rosatom always takes safety seriously and the ongoing pandemic is no different. All employees have their body temperature taken on a regular basis. If an employee develops respiratory disease symptoms, they are sent home to be examined by a doctor. The number of buses delivering employees to the site has been increased to maintain the necessary distance between passengers. Every facility is fitted with an antiseptic dispenser; dormitories and offices are disinfected regularly. “Our utmost priority in the current situation is to protect the health of those who work on the site and minimize the impact of the epidemic on the project’s progress. We do everything we can to protect our people. At present, no employee of Akkuyu Nükleer or any of the contractors has been infected with COVID‑19. We keep the situation under control. Construction and installation operations on the Akkuyu site run as scheduled, with all necessary precautionary measures taken,” Alexey Frolov, Managing Director for GR and International Cooperation at Akkuyu Nükleer said.
The company follows the recommendations issued by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior and other Turkish government agencies and is ready to step up measures for the prevention of infection. Rosatom is closely monitoring the situation with COVID‑19 epidemic in the countries where it operates and takes every necessary step to protect employees against the infection and ensure safety and security at the nuclear facilities under construction and in operation.
At the same time, Akkuyu Nükleer takes action to mitigate negative effects of the pandemic on the construction process at Akkuyu. The work is continuing both in Turkey and in Russia. In late March, OKB Gidropress (a subsidiary of Rosatom’s mechanical engineering division Atomenergomash) shipped 200 expanded graphite gaskets to Akkuyu. The gaskets will be installed in the steam generators of the VVER reactor units to seal the connections between their components.
Akkuyu Nükleer offers training courses to Turkish citizens and hires young talents to join the Akkuyu team. In early March, Peter the Great Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University announced the admission of Turkish students holding a bachelor’s degree for the second free-of-charge Masters course, which lasts two years. The students enrolled in the program will major in Thermal Engineering and Power Engineering.
The first students from Turkey began studying at Russian universities in 2011. In total, 143 graduates of the dedicated Akkuyu NPP staff training program have already joined Akkuyu Nükleer’s team and are working on the construction site. At present, over 120 students from Turkey continue their education at the National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI) and Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University.