Safe Casks
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#275March 2024

Safe Casks

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The first dry cask was shipped to the Akkuyu NPP in mid-­February. These unrivaled containers for spent nuclear fuel are manufactured and transported to the construction site by Rosatom Group companies. Along with the cask, Rosatom engineers developed a set of maintenance equipment, which is not inferior to the cask in terms of production complexity.

The dry cask is designed to contain spent nuclear fuel (SNF) after it is cooled in the Akkuyu NPP spent fuel pool. This container can hold up to 18 spent fuel assemblies during transportation or storage. There are more than 10,000 parts in the cask, and the length of all welds in it exceeds 20 kilometers.

The cask has been certified by the Russian regulator for compliance with the national safety requirements and IAEA international standards. The container passed the necessary tests at the manufacturing plant. Representatives of the Turkish regulator, Rosatom, and Russia’s watchdog Rostechnadzor participated in the acceptance inspection. It took a month for the inspectors to assess the quality of the product and its compliance with the specifications at more than a hundred control points.

“First of all, I would like to congratulate the team on their success. I was present at many control points during the manufacturing process and saw how much effort the company employees made. I give a high score to the work done by the team. We are happy with the result achieved,” said Yemin Kunter of the Turkish Nuclear Regulatory Authority.

The dry cask was not the only product shipped to the construction site in the last month of winter as two moisture separator reheaters (MSRs) were sent to the Akkuyu NPP in late February. They arrived in Turkey in the middle of March. The MSRs were manufactured by Rosatom’s power engineering division.

As the name suggests, the moisture separator reheater serves to separate moisture and reheat steam coming out of the high-pressure cylinder and entering the medium-­pressure cylinder of the turbine. This device is located in the turbine hall of the power unit and belongs to the auxiliary systems that increase the efficiency and reliability of the turbine. It is a horizontal cylinder-­shaped vessel made of seven welded shells with a thickness of 30 and 50 mm and two 42 mm thick elliptical bottoms. Its internals in contact with wet steam are made of ferritic stainless steel to avoid erosion and corrosion. Each MSR weighs over 320 tonnes and measures 22.3 meters in length and 4.5 meters in diameter.

In mid-­March, the Akkuyu project passed another major milestone as Akkuyu Nuclear’s management system was certified to meet ISO standards. The certificate award ceremony was held at the Akkuyu construction site. An independent ISO certification audit was a mandatory requirement of the Turkish regulator and Rosatom. It was conducted by the Turkish certification body Kalitest that holds international accreditation from the Turkish Accreditation Agency (TÜRKAK).

The audit covered the entire spectrum of integrated management practices across engineering, construction, installation and commissioning processes in the company. The auditors studied about 250 documents and interviewed 70 managers and employees.

The auditors did not identify any non-conformities and made no reservations during the audit. They also pointed out the company’s strengths, particularly the development of safety practices.

“The certificates of compliance issued to the company are valid until 2026 provided that we pass annual audits. This means we must go forward and strive for continuous improvements in our work,” said Sergey Butskikh, First Deputy CEO at Akkuyu Nuclear and director of the under-­construction nuclear power plant.

While construction of all four units of the nuclear power plant is progressing as scheduled, Rosatom organizes cultural and social activities.

On March 8, the International Women’s Day was celebrated at the plant construction site. Female employees received flowers and congratulations from their male colleagues. Akkuyu Nuclear CEO Anastasia Zoteeva congratulated the women: “Each of you is charming and special! Your high professionalism, competence, sensitivity and attention to details are incredibly important for maintaining harmony in the world and are in great demand in the Akkuyu NPP project.”

At present, over two thousand female engineers, lawyers, accountants, HR managers and other professionals are employed in the project. Female employees are also involved in research and development, achieve outstanding professional results, and receive prestigious industry awards.

On the eve of the holiday Akkuyu Nuclear invited representatives of leading Turkish media outlets to visit the construction site. Denis Sezyomin, Director for Construction and Production Organization at Akkuyu Nuclear, showed the reporters around and told them about the ongoing construction, installation and commissioning works. Then they had a press breakfast with employees of six different Akkuyu Nuclear departments. The employees shared inspiring stories about their careers in the nuclear industry, and talked about professional challenges and specifics.