Reviewing 2022back to contents
January is the right time to review the year that passed. This article takes a look back at the last year’s most vivid events and, of course, key milestones of the fast-growing Akkuyu project.
In late January, installation of tier 5 of the internal containment shell was completed at Akkuyu Unit 1. The shell is a key safety component that protects the reactor and serves as a support for penetrating structures of the pipes and the polar crane. A month later, all the key components of the reactor unit were installed inside the nuclear island of Unit 1. In late March, workers proceeded with the welding on primary coolant pipes that connect the reactor, steam generators and coolant pumps. As soon as late May, the welding was completed, with 68 days spent to make all 28 joints of the pipeline. Quality of each joint was examined by ultrasonic, penetrant and other quality assurance methods. In late April, workers connected a discharge channel and a siphon well at the site of Unit 1. The two structures enable the discharge of sea and desalinated water from the cooling systems of the nuclear power plant. In August, a polar crane was installed to facilitate the mounting of an internal containment dome and other equipment and prepare for the flushing of reactor systems.
In late September, a pressurizer was installed inside the reactor building. It is designed to create and maintain pressure inside the primary coolant circuit when the reactor goes critical or when temperature changes. In October, workers mounted the sixth tier of the internal containment shell. In the end of the year, they installed a dome that capped the reactor building of Unit 1 and proceeded with the reactor flushing. This is one of the most critical procedures, during which the pipes connecting the primary circuit equipment are flushed with deionized water to check their throughput.
Construction at the other three units was also going full tilt. At Unit 2, workers installed the third tier of the internal containment shell and mounted a reactor pit liner. One of the key milestones passed last year was the emplacement of a reactor pressure vessel (RPV). Putting an RPV in place requires a pinpoint accuracy as acceptable horizontal tolerances should be less than a tenth of a millimeter. In late October, workers mounted a pressurizer in the reactor building of this unit and completed the installation of the sixth tier of the internal containment shell; the reactor building reached the height of 51.5 meters.
At Unit 3, a core catcher was put in its place in the reactor pit. It is a core element of the passive safety system and a know-how of the Russian nuclear corporation. Workers also installed the second tier of the internal containment.
In the second half of July, first concrete was poured for the foundation of Unit 4. The ceremony was attended by Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez, high-rank Turkish officials, and Rosatom’s top managers.
The work went on to build auxiliary facilities for the construction and maintenance of the future nuclear power plant. In late August, installation of the equipment began for an auxiliary boiler plant at the construction site. The boiler will generate steam for the reactor units during the commissioning phase. Besides, a temporary water desalination plant was put in operation at the site, and so was a workshop producing metal air ducts for ventilation systems.
In autumn, a ‘zero point assessment’ ceremony took place on the construction site to measure the ‘initial’ radiation level. The measurements will be used as a baseline for regular background radiation assessments when the plant is in operation.
In mid-January, top managers of the Russian nuclear corporation and their colleagues from Turkey took part in Rosatom’s Week at EXPO 2020 in Dubai. Construction progress at Akkuyu, why Turkey needs a nuclear station and what advantages it will bring were much talked about at the World Expo.
In 2022, Istanbul hosted two landmark industry events, Nuclear Power Plants IV Expo & VIII Summit 2022 (NPPES 2022) in June and the 15th Energy is Future World Energy Congress and Expo (EIF 2022) in October. Akkuyu Nuclear acted as a general partner to those global events that brought together key players of the Turkish energy and nuclear sectors and energy industry representatives from other countries. Rosatom organized virtual tours to the Novovoronezh NPP, while Akkuyu Nuclear procurement managers held over 50 business meetings with potential suppliers of the Akkuyu project. The company’s booth at the two exhibitions provided information about Rosatom’s activities and international projects. Another seminar for Akkuyu suppliers was held on the margins of NPPES 2022.
In late August of 2022, the Turkish city of Samsun hosted the country’s largest aerospace and technology festival Teknofest attended by more than 1.2 million people from all over Turkey. Akkuyu Nuclear presented its exposition at the festival. Using a mobile app, visitors could see an interactive 3D model of the Akkuyu NPP with its key facilities and equipment visualized, and also learn more about the operating principles of a nuclear power plant. Children and young people could take part in an interactive quiz about nuclear energy and environment. Young employees of Akkuyu Nuclear told visitors about the employee training program, their working experience, and the importance of nuclear energy for Turkey’s technological development.
In November, the Akkuyu NPP again opened its doors to everyone. On a virtual tour to the plant, viewers were shown key facilities, were told about the progress of the project, and received answers to their questions. Around 1,000 people joined the tour.
In late November, Turkey took part in Atomexpo 2022 International Forum held in Russia as one of its key actors. Turkish representatives were involved in all of the forum’s centerpiece events. The Turkish booth at the exhibition was attended with great interest.
Akkuyu Nuclear takes an active part in social activities in the communities surrounding the nuclear plant construction site. In March, on the eve of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the Akkuyu project contractors donated food boxes for local families to the Social Support Fund organized by the Administration of Gülnar District. In July, Akkuyu Nuclear organized traditional festivities to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
On April 23, the National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, the construction site welcomed children of Akkuyu employees. On the Construction Workers’ Day celebrated in mid-August, a ceremony was held to award builders for their loyalty to the Turkish project and commitment to professional values.
Since 2022, Akkuyu Nuclear has been a partner to an endangered sea turtle monitoring and protection initiative in the Göksu River Delta Conservation Area. As part of this initiative, a traditional clean-up campaign was organized at a sea turtle nesting area near the town of Tashuçu, where the nuclear plant builders live. It was attended by over 100 Akkuyu employees, researchers and volunteers.
In October, the Mersin Province welcomed an international charitable mission, Sails of Spirit, long supported by Rosatom.
In early November, Akkuyu Nuclear donated certificates for about TRY 10 million to the administrations of Gülnar and Silifke municipalities. The money will be used to finance social projects in the area.
In December, Mersin hosted a local round of Rosatom’s chess tournament organized in partnership with the Turkish Chess Federation (TSF). Having covered all the six districts of the Mersin Province, it was the first private chess tournament in the region. Over 800 players took part in the contest, and winners received awards and gifts. Local chess clubs were given 150 chess sets and 75 chess clocks as part of the tournament.
“Rosatom is a corporation of knowledge, and we believe that one of our primary missions is to develop the intellectual potential of our employees. This is why we were happy to organize a chess tournament at the invitation of the Chess Federation,” says Dmitri Romanets, Deputy CEO for NPP Construction at Akkuyu Nuclear.
After the tournament, the finalists and their parents were invited on a tour to the construction site of the Akkuyu NPP.