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#252April 2022

Fully on Track

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Workers at the Akkuyu NPP site moved ahead with welding of the primary coolant pipeline, this year’s key installation operation at Unit 1. Construction works at all four reactor units, production of the necessary equipment and deliveries from Russia are fully on schedule. 

In late March, construction works at Akkuyu Unit 1 moved on to the next key stage as welding operations started on the primary coolant pipes. The primary coolant pipeline connects key components of the reactor island, including the reactor, steam generators and primary coolant pumps, and forms a primary circuit of the power unit.

“Welding of the primary coolant pipeline is a key stage of the reactor construction process. While the reactor is compared with a heart of the nuclear power plant, the primary coolant pipeline is its main artery. When in operation, it contains a continuously circulating water with the temperature of up to 330 °C. Only special pipes with 70 mm thick walls can withstand the action of water, so welding of the pipeline is a complex, sophisticated operation that is subject to the strictest requirements,” says AKKUYU NUCLEAR CEO Anastasia Zoteeva.

Apart from assembly and welding, installation of the primary coolant pipes includes high-temperature treatment of the welds, followed by metal cladding from inside. These operations make the pipeline corrosion-resistant, increase strength of the welds and ensure at least 60 years of design service life. During the installation, the workers will weld 28 joints between the pipes, install around 260 tons of pipes and steel structures, and control the quality of welds.

Construction works are going full tilt at all four units of the Akkuyu NPP. The main components of Unit 1 – the reactor, steam generators and main circulation pumps – have been installed. At Unit 2, the nuclear and turbine islands are being constructed, and preparations are underway to begin installation of the third tier of the internal containment shell. Installation of the reactor pressure vessel is a key operation scheduled for this year at Unit 2. Construction works at Unit 3 started in March 2021. Since then, foundation slabs have been concreted for the nuclear and turbine islands, and erection of the unit walls has begun. The first tier of the internal containment shell has been installed in the reactor building. It is also planned to begin installation of a core catcher later this year. At the site of Unit 4 where the construction pit for the nuclear and turbine islands has been completed, works are underway to install reinforcement for the basemat of the turbine island and make preparations for concreting.

Meanwhile, deliveries of core equipment continue. In mid-March, key components of the turbine generator for Unit 1 – a rotor, a low-pressure cylinder and a stator – arrived at the site. Notably, the stator weighs 430 tons and is 12 meters long. “The turbine stator is the heaviest item of the nuclear plant machinery, so its transportation must meet particularly stringent requirements,” says Sergey Butskikh, First Deputy CEO at AKKUYU NUCLEAR and director of the under-construction nuclear power plant.

The equipment was delivered by sea to the Eastern cargo terminal. The unloading process took a week. The turbine generator consists of two main parts, a rotor and a stator. The rotor, a powerful accumulator of mechanical energy, rotates inside the stationary stator. This is the mechanism that converts mechanical energy into electric power.

In late March, ZiO Podolsk (part of Rosatom’s power engineering division) manufactured and shipped a suppression pool for Akkuyu Unit 3. It is one of the essential components of the nuclear island. Its function is to compensate for pressure fluctuations by condensing steam coming from the primary circuit of the reactor unit.

“Rosatom, AKKUYU NUCLEAR and other Russian nuclear companies participating in the Akkuyu construction project continue working on the project and fulfill the terms and conditions of the framework agreement between the Russian and Turkish governments and obligations of the Russian party under the construction contract. This pertains, among other things, to the delivery of equipment. Production and shipment of equipment for the nuclear power plant constructed in Turkey are fully on track,” says a statement by Rosatom.

AKKUYU NUCLEAR is heavily engaged in social events in the communities surrounding the nuclear plant construction site. The company launches environment protection initiatives and organizes cultural and entertaining events for the locals. On the eve of Ramadan, a holy month for all the Muslims, the Akkuyu project contractors donated food boxes for local families to the Social Support Fund organized by the Administration of Gülnar District.

“The Akkuyu NPP has been a major employer in the area for some years now. In the future, the lives of local communities will be tied to the nuclear power plant even stronger. Realizing the degree of our social responsibility, we are committed to providing support to local residents. Giving food boxes to local families as a gift for the holy month of Ramadan has become a good tradition for many parties involved in the project. I would like to note that many of the contractors hired for the project support this initiative,” Anastasia Zoteeva explained. Apart from AKKUYU NUCLEAR, the welfare initiative was supported by Akkuyu contractors, including Russian-Turkish company Titan 2 IC Içtaş, NEPT Joint-Stock Company, and Cengiz İnşaat.

Yunus Emre Bayraklı, Head of Gülnar District, said, “Residents of Gülnar value the support provided to our region and country by the companies engaged in the Akkuyu NPP project and, in their turn, support construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, a project of nationwide importance. Together with AKKUYU NUCLEAR, we carry out a plenty of initiatives and invest particularly much effort in employing local residents. From March 2021 till March 2022, about 600 residents of the Gülnar District found a job at the Akkuyu construction site. AKKUYU NUCLEAR also provides substantial support to local schools. I am sincerely thankful to AKKUYU NUCLEAR and project contractors for the care they take of Gülnar residents.”