All The Best for The First
Subscribe to the newsletter
Select the region you are interested in and enter your e-mail
#274February 2024

All The Best for The First

back to contents

Construction of any nuclear power plant extends well beyond on-site operations into building complex logistics chains. Further, no nuclear power plant project will be successful without putting effort into related areas, such as professional training. This article will tell you how equipment is delivered to the Akkuyu NPP and how staff is trained for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant. Important news is also coming from the construction site.

In mid-­February, the head of Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev visited the Akkuyu NPP. He got acquainted with the dynamics of the construction and held a meeting with the project CEOs.

“The construction readiness of the first block is more than 90 %. All the equipment of the nuclear island has been installed. The stator and the base of the generating system are being installed in the engine room — this is the heaviest equipment at the nuclear power plant. The reactor is a kind of heart that accelerates blood through the station. And this blood feeds the turbine and generator muscle. And this muscle will provide up to 10 % of the total electrical energy of such a large country as Turkey,” said the head of Rosatom.
At the beginning of February, at the first block was organized the clean room. It is an isolated space for the trial assembly of the reactor, that is, for physically fitting together the reactor parts and loading a mock-up core prior to cold and hot functional tests.

“Arranging a clean room means that general construction works have been finished in the reactor containment of Unit 1. Compliance with industrial cleanliness standards excludes the presence of foreign objects and construction materials and allows us to meet all the necessary safety requirements during the reactor assembly. We are now proceeding right with the installation of reactor components for the loading of dummy fuel assemblies and then with the cold and hot functional tests,” says Sergey Butskikh, First Deputy CEO at AKKUYU NUCLEAR and director of the under-­construction nuclear power plant. The clean room will be maintained throughout the service life of the Akkuyu NPP.


In late January, two horizontal moisture separator reheaters (MSRs) for Akkuyu Unit 1 were shipped to Turkey from Saint Petersburg, Russia. The task was unprecedented in complexity as the equipment was transported over the frozen Neva River for the first time ever. The river was covered with solid ice, so the ship carrying the equipment was escorted by three icebreakers and two tugboats. The drawbridges over the Neva were raised, which is uncommon in winter, to let the convoy pass.

“Winter transportation on the Neva River is an extremely complex logistics task. Many services were involved to make the way from the pier to the Great Port of Saint Petersburg easy and safe,” says Pavel Kosterin, Production Director at Izhora Plants (part of Rosatom’s power engineering division).

With each MSR being 22.3 meters long and 4.5 meters in diameter, the total weight of the cargo amounted to 640 tonnes.
The MSRs for the Akkuyu NPP are the first in Russia to have been made horizontal. This design reduces the number of MSRs from four to two per reactor unit. In addition, the horizontal design requires almost half as much steel as conventional MSRs while being more efficient, reliable and cost-effective in general.

Also in late January, ZiO-Podolsk (part of Rosatom’s power engineering division) shipped a high-pressure preheater (PVD 7/1) for the turbine island of Akkuyu Unit 1. Its function is to preheat the water fed into the steam generator by condensing steam exiting the turbine. The 92 tonne device has a design service life of 60 years. Each power unit has four high-pressure preheaters.

Education and training

Rosatom and Russian universities offering degrees in nuclear science and engineering continue to train Turkish students. In January, the National Nuclear Research University (MEPhI) and the Moscow Power Engineering Institute (MPEI) began to enroll students for their master’s programs.

Students with a bachelor’s degree in science, technology or power engineering can apply.

The program will last three years. During the first year, the students will study technical Russian; the next two years will be dedicated to specialty subjects. This year, the two universities are ready to enroll 68 students under the Akkuyu personnel training program financed by the Russian government.

Over three hundred young Turkish engineers, who have earlier received degrees in nuclear and related fields from prestigious Russian universities, are now working at the construction site of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant.

Russian universities are not the only source of knowledge and skills for the Turkish NPP employees. In 2023, more than 500 foreigners, including 179 Akkuyu employees, took a training course at the Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant. This number is higher than in the previous years. “The growing number of trainees is associated with the approaching first criticality at Akkuyu and Rooppur. We train employees for a wide range of operating positions, from turbine hall patrol and reactor operators to shift supervisors. We also train department and plant managers. About 70 % of our trainees are the personnel of electrical and thermal I&C departments, and reactor and turbine islands,” explains Alexander Kachaev, Head of the International Staff Training Center.

Practice classes take place in dedicated classrooms, laboratories and workshops of the Novovoronezh training center. The trainees use NPP equipment simulators to practice skills and work routine, with their performance carefully analyzed and assessed. They also watch the activities of Novovoronezh operating personnel and study operational documentation.

Before doing practice classes, Turkish engineers planning to take major positions in the reactor control room (as leading turbine and reactor control engineers) study at Russia’s best technical universities, such as MEPhI, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and Bauman Moscow State Technical University.

In 2024, the Novovoronezh NPP plans to train 150 Akkuyu employees.