All-Embracing Cooperation
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#278July 2024

All-Embracing Cooperation

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The Akkuyu NPP project extends far beyond construction to embrace many other areas. Here is our account of the most important events from the past month.

Safety

The second phase of the peer review mission of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) to the Akkuyu NPP site took place in early June. The peer review team consisted of ENSREG experts, representatives of the Turkish Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NDK), employees of Akkuyu Nuclear and AtomEnergoProekt (an engineering company for the Akkuyu NPP project).

The experts spent five days at the site, inspecting principal facilities of the nuclear power plant under construction. They visited buildings and structures of Unit 1, a standby diesel power plant, a pumping station, auxiliary facilities, and a training center for the operating personnel.

“All the indicators show the high level of safety, which is confirmed by the design and engineering solutions we are implementing. ENSREG expertise is very important for any nuclear plant under construction. We are very grateful for the expert opinions and will certainly take into account all the recommendations made by the mission. They will serve as an additional guarantee that the Akkuyu NPP will be securely protected from any external impacts and their combinations, including earthquakes, floods and extreme weather conditions,” says Sergey Butskikh, First Deputy CEO at Akkuyu Nuclear and director of the under-­construction Akkuyu NPP.

The ENSREG mission is voluntary. In 2011, Turkey signed the Joint Declaration of the European Union and Neighboring States on Comprehensive Risk and Safety Assessments of Nuclear Plants. The first version of Turkey’s National Stress Test Report was submitted to the European Commission in 2012, followed by the second version in 2018. The mission to Akkuyu demonstrates that the nuclear power plant welcomes experts from reputable international organizations to conduct safety reviews.

ENSREG is an independent expert body established in 2007 by the European Commission. It brings together heads of national nuclear and radiation safety regulators from all 27 EU member states, and representatives of the European Commission.

Shipments

The Central Design and Technology Institute (part of Rosatom) has shipped a complete set of equipment for the reloading machine for the first Akkuyu power unit. The earthquake-­resistant reloading machine is designed to load nuclear fuel into the reactor core and replace spent nuclear fuel with fresh fuel. It carries out technological operations with fuel assemblies, absorbing rods of the control and protection system, and also monitors the tightness of fuel element shells.

Sharing experience

Experience sharing is an indispensable part of the Akkuyu NPP project. In late May, heads of public healthcare institutions of the Mersin Province and employees from Akkuyu Nuclear visited Russia’s Novovoronezh, a satellite city of the Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant, to learn about the cooperation between Russian healthcare agencies and nuclear facilities.

They discussed medical care options in emergency and non-emergency situations. The visitors were told about the structure of the public healthcare system in Russia, Novovoronezh NPP healthcare center, and a health resort for the nuclear plant employees.

“A new high-tech sector is taking shape in Turkey, which is closely connected with other economic sectors, such as industrial production, education, and healthcare. Construction of an advanced nuclear power plant notably raises the standards of quality in each of these sectors. We have established close ties with public agencies in the host region of the Akkuyu NPP, and they are eager to adopt that unrivaled experience their colleagues from Russia have gained,” Akkuyu Nuclear CEO Anastasia Zoteeva said.

In addition, representatives of the Mersin Department of Turkey’s Ministry of Health visited the operating Novovoronezh NPP and were demonstrated a full-scale simulator in the on-site training center.

“The purpose of our visit was to see for ourselves how healthcare services are provided inside and outside a nuclear power plant in Russia. We have received first-hand information on how to respond to crisis and emergency situations at nuclear facilities and how to provide first aid in such conditions,” said Emrah Ceviz, Director of the Health Department of the Mersin Province (Turkey).

Akkuyu Nuclear is establishing close ties with leading specialized universities in Russia and Turkey. In late May, representatives of Russia’s largest construction university, Moscow State University of Civil Engineering (MGSU), visited the construction site of the Turkish nuclear station. The guests were taken to the Eastern cargo terminal, a pumping station of Unit 1, power units under construction, a workshop for the production of steel structures, and offshore hydraulic structures.

After that, the top managers of Akkuyu Nuclear and MGSU representatives discussed the development of cooperation, including the possibility of internships for university students at the construction site.

“Rosatom has been cooperating with leading Russian universities for many years. I am sure that the partnership with one of Russia’s leading construction universities will also contribute to the development of our project,” Anastasia Zoteeva said.

Environment and sports

In early June, the Akkuyu NPP hosted the finals of the Akkuyu is Clean environmental project timed to coincide with the Environment Week. Sixty employees were recognized with commemorative awards for keeping their workplaces clean and tidy.

The Akkuyu is Clean project started in September 2023 and included a series of educational activities aimed at raising environmental awareness and creating a culture of cleanliness among the builders at the world’s largest nuclear construction site. Not only Akkuyu employees, but also local residents took part in the project activities. Regular garbage collection initiatives on the site of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant were an important part of the project. Participation of the company employees in environmental activities at the Kum Mahallesi Beach helped maintain this protected area, a nesting place for a rare species of turtle, clean.

In late May, on the eve of the Atatürk Memorial Day, Akkuyu Nuclear employees and students of the Taşucu Vocational School organized a youth running race. The students spent their free time doing sports, met with young nuclear professionals, and had an informal talk with Denis Sezyomin, Director for Construction and Production Organization at Akkuyu Nuclear.

“We want to set an example for today’s students by demonstrating the atmosphere of unity and friendship in the team that is working at the nuclear power plant under construction. Perhaps, they will also commit themselves to the nuclear power sector in the future,” said Denis Sezyomin.