Construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant is not the only activity of Rosatom in the country. The Russian nuclear corporation also responds to community needs by contributing to environment protection, launching educational programs, providing financial aid to medical institutions and supporting those in need.
In early June, employees of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant came out to the streets of Büyükeceli, a town closest to the construction site, to mark the World Environment Day and clean up the town. They were supported by representatives of Russian-Turkish company Titan 2 IC Içtaş Inşaat Anonim Şirketi, the main contractor for the Akkuyu NPP construction. The initiative aimed to draw public attention to environmental issues. Dozens of people came out to the streets of the town to collect garbage.
“Büyükeceli has become home to our employees working at the Akkuyu construction site and, like the locals, we want to keep it clean. Going out and collecting garbage means taking care of your home. This is a necessity, and everyone should realize it. People have a common home, which is our Planet Earth; keeping it clean is everyone’s responsibility. Out of all types of electricity generation, nuclear has the lowest impact on the environment,” Alexey Frolov, Director for GR and International Cooperation at Akkuyu Nükleer, said.
Garbage collection initiatives organized by Akkuyu employees have become regular. Last time, special safety measures were taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Gül Göktepe, the president of Women in Nuclear Turkey (NÜKAD), stressed the role of nuclear energy for environmental protection in her statement dedicated to the World Environment Day. “One cannot be an environmentalist and anti-nuclear at the same time! she said.
Gül Göktepe added that the World Environment Day had a special meaning amidst the coronavirus pandemic. She stressed that people became more concerned with climate change and were more aware of environmental issues, and this opened up new opportunities. Gül Göktepe noted that nuclear energy played an important role in country’s development and environmental protection, “While the Akkuyu NPP is in its advancement process and the world is in the post-pandemic new changing stage, we need to aim at moving the notion of environmental protection forward to constitute a “national environmental security”.
Göktepe emphasized the importance of NPPs clean energy production, which they do it without carbon dioxide emission, in the fight against climate change. Additionally, she noted that the nuclear technologies play an important role in human health, agriculture, air, water and soil analysis, environmental measurement and assessment.”
Akkuyu Nükleer addresses the most critical needs of local communities. In late May, the company granted 70,000 liras to state hospitals in Silifke and the family health center in Büyükeceli, two towns closest to the Akkuyu construction site. Finance will be provided to improve the infrastructure and inpatient conditions.
When transferring the certificates, Alexey Frolov said the number of employees living in the nearby communities had exceeded 6,000 people. This puts additional pressure on the social infrastructure, medical facilities included. And this is the reason why the company supports doctors.
Chief Medical Officer of Silifke State Hospital Özgür Ozan Karak thanked the company management. He noted that the financial aid would be used to refurbish and fit out hospital wards and purchase surgical equipment.
In late May, Akkuyu Nükleer employees congratulated residents of Büyükeceli on Eid al-Fitr. In the month of Ramadan, Akkuyu Nükleer used to organize a feast (iftar) for the locals. This year the feast was canceled due to the pandemic. In order to support low-income locals, Akkuyu Nükleer employees prepared food boxes and handed them to Büyükeceli residents. The food boxes were delivered in accordance with epidemiological safety requirements; congratulations on Eid al-Fitr were written on an enclosed card.
Children are the future of the nation, and Akkuyu Nükleer realizes it perfectly well. The company strives to strengthen cultural ties between the Russian and Turkish nations by supporting children in sports, science and arts. In association with Akkuyu Nükleer, Rossotrudnichestvo (a Russian agency for CIS affairs and international humanitarian cooperation) organized a children’s painting contest Paint Your Dream dedicated to the National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. Children were asked to paint their most cherished dreams. More than 100 young painters from all over Turkey — Ankara, Antalia, Istanbul, Gülnar, Silifke and other cities — sent their works for the contest. The jury chose three works in each of the age categories (4 to 6 years, 7 to 10 years, and 11 to 14 years). The nine winners received gift certificates and prizes.
By the mid-next year, the staff of Akkuyu Nükleer will reach 1,000 people, including 400 young employees. In June, 55 graduates of the National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI) will join the Akkuyu team. The management understands the importance of a dialog with young talents. In late May, a video conference was organized between young employees of Akkuyu Nükleer and the company’s head office in Ankara. The meeting was attended by recent MEPhI graduates from Turkey and Russian employees aged below 36. The company management told them about the progress in the Akkuyu project and next steps in the construction. HR Director Julia Zholobova told the young employees about the corporate social policy, future sports events and other team initiatives.
The work on the Akkuyu site is running on schedule. The plan for this year is to continue the construction and installation on the site, including the first level of the containment structure for Unit 1, concreting of the basemat for Unit 2, groundwork for the nuclear island of Unit 3, completion of the Eastern and Western construction yards, and commissioning of new administrative buildings on the site.
The Akkuyu project is the first nuclear power plant constructed by Rosatom under the BOO (Build–Own–Operate) model. Its design life is 60 years and can be extended for 20 more years. After the plant is completed, it will generate 35 billion kWh per annum and cover 10 % of Turkey’s total demand for electricity.