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Russian Atomflot (part of Rosatom) and Turkish Kuzey Star Shipyard Denizcilik Sanayi ve Ticaret Anonim Sirketi signed a USD 69 million contract to build a floating dry dock for universal nuclear icebreakers.
As reported by Dünya newspaper, Tuncay İmral, Chairman of the Board at Kuzey Star Shipyard, said, “We are glad to sign a contract with Atomflot, one of major Russian state-owned companies. It is an honor for a Turkish shipyard to have won a contract for such an ambitious project. Taking part in it means new opportunities and competencies for Kuzey Star. The project will definitely strengthen relations between Turkey and the Russian Federation.”
Having a capacity of 30,000 tons and a 30‑man crew, the dock will be capable of operating independently for 7 days.
“The signing of the contract is an important step in the implementation of the coastal infrastructure preparation program for servicing universal Project 22220 nuclear icebreakers. The Turkish shipyard has the necessary competencies and has a decent reputation in the shipbuilding market. According to the terms of the contract, construction, including the delivery of the floating dry dock to the port of Murmansk, will take 29 months,” said Atomflot CEO Mustafa Kashka.
Meanwhile, construction of the Akkuyu NPP is gaining momentum. The most active work phase is going on at Unit 1. In early June, workers completed the installation of Tier 3 of the internal containment shell — the reactor building reached 28 meters in height. In May, the reactor pressure vessel was installed in its permanent position. Dmitri Romanets, Deputy CEO for Construction, said in an interview for the Turkish channel A Haber, “We can compare a reactor pressure vessel with a human heart. This piece of equipment will be working throughout the entire life of the nuclear power plant. After the second and third tiers are connected, we will start reinforcing and concreting the reactor containment.”
As the expert explained, they continued building coastal structures. At present, the work is underway to complete foundation pits for pump stations. Construction of the stations, which belong to one of the nuclear plant’s safety systems, will begin in the near future.
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The work is continuing at Unit 2 as well. In March, a foundation was laid for Unit 3. The foundation for Unit 4 will be laid within a year.
The nuclear power plant will comply with all international safety standards. Chief of the Department of Environmental Protection Merve Demirci Kolukısaoğlu said, “We carefully monitor certain parameters on the site as required by the international nuclear safety standards. These are seismic, geodynamic and environmental parameters, and we also monitor parameters traced by non-governmental organizations.”
Employee health is another important aspect of the safety culture. A mass vaccination campaign against COVID‑19 started at the Akkuyu construction site. Vaccines are administered at a certified medical station. Anyone can be vaccinated as medical staff is present at the station during working hours. This is a second round of the vaccination campaign, says Alexei Frolov, Managing Director for GR and International Cooperation at AKKUYU NUCLEAR. “We began preparations for the mass vaccination of our employees early this year. We listed everyone who wanted to get vaccinated in advance, ordered the required number of vaccines, and equipped a vaccination station. We were supported by the Turkish authorities, the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Health. With their assistance, the vaccination of Turkish employees is going full tilt.”
The construction project, which is unparalleled in Turkey, is in the focus of public attention. Not long ago, the Akkuyu site hosted a group of young people who had won a live quiz organized on Turkey’s TV talent show. The winners came to Mersin from all over the country. During the site tour, the children were shown a sea freight terminal receiving materials and oversized equipment for the nuclear power plant, and taken to a storage site for huge pipes, which will be used in the cooling water deep discharge system. They were also brought to a 200m high viewpoint and could watch the construction site from a bird’s eye view. After the tour, employees of AKKUYU NUCLEAR communications department told the visitors how nuclear power plants worked and what safety systems they had.
The young people were very much impressed with the site tour. “I study to be a construction engineer, so seeing such a giant construction site with my own eyes was truly an unmatched experience for me. When we left the site, I made a commitment to myself to devote my professional career to a large project that will be meaningful for Turkey,” Halil İbrahim Dilik said in an interview for PetroTurk media outlet.
“This project is a clear proof that, in terms of environment protection, nuclear energy is a much better solution to the problem of growing power demand than coal or natural gas. I would like our country to have more nuclear power plants in the future,” says Furkan Uzungüngör, who studies civil engineering at Kocaeli University.
Atomflot is a Rosatom company operating the world’s only nuclear icebreaker fleet, which is currently under expansion program.