Work Up and Running
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#254February 2024

Work Up and Running

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Construction works at all four units of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant are going full tilt. Late May saw several important milestones passed, while Rosatom and Turkey continued to work closely together on training the staff for the plant under construction.

In late May, workers started to pour concrete for the turbine island of Akkuyu Unit 4. With 450 people involved, concreting operations are performed in two shifts. The total area of the turbine island basemat amounts to nearly 6,000 square meters. To make the basemat, the workers will lay 17,500 cubic meters of concrete and install 3,500 tons of reinforcement. The height of the concrete layer will reach seven meters.

After the concrete cures, a special commission involving representatives of the Turkish Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NDK) and independent surveyors will inspect the quality of concreting, and the basemat laying stage will be considered complete.

“The turbine island basemat is a complex structure capable of bearing and evenly distributing loads from the turbine plant during operation. The basemat will be constructed in stages. Like all the engineering solutions used in the Akkuyu NPP, the concreting of the turbine island basemat for Unit 4 follows the IAEA safety standards, applicable Turkish laws, and current requirements of the global nuclear community,” Akkuyu Nuclear CEO Anastasia Zoteeva noted.

The turbine island building is one of the most important structures of a nuclear power plant. It houses power generation machinery, such as a turbine generator, deaerator, feeding pumps, and auxiliary equipment.

Elsewhere on site, welding of the primary coolant pipes was completed at Unit 1 in late May. The welding operations lasted 68 days while workers were welding all 28 joints of the pipeline.

Quality of each finished joint was examined by ultrasonic, penetrant and other quality assurance methods. The joints were also subjected to heat treatment in parallel with welding operations. At the next step, the joints will be overlaid with stainless steel from inside to ensure extra protection for the pipe walls. Made of a special alloy steel grade, the primary coolant pipeline has 7 cm thick walls and is 160 meters long. As the name suggests, it contains primary coolant circulating during the plant’s operation.

To mark the completion of welding operations on the primary coolant pipes, a ceremony was held to award the workers and other employees who took part in this work and quality inspections. Souvenirs and notes of acknowledgment were given to 29 people, including heads of contractors, welders, NDT inspectors, fitters and others.

“The best of the best are working at the Akkuyu NPP project. I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the welding operations for their responsibility and diligence, highest professionalism and well-structured organization of all technological processes. The Akkuyu project team is proud of you!” Anastasia Zoteeva said addressing the team of welders during the award ceremony.

Russia’s Novovoronezh NPP Unit 6 serves as a reference for Akkuyu. In May, the Russian nuclear power plant welcomed NDK representatives. They had an opportunity to be present at the exams organized by the Russian nuclear regulator Rostechnadzor for the critical personnel of the plant — ​control room operators — ​who have to obtain a working permit. The Turkish guests also visited the main control room of Novovoronezh Unit 6.

“Visiting a nuclear power plant helps us get a better understanding of technological processes. The information we have learned here will be very useful. We asked many questions and received detailed answers. We also had an open discussion of all the matters of our interest,” Erdem Çakır from NDK Department for Nuclear Facilities says.

Also in May, about forty Akkuyu employees, who will have to obtain NDK licenses, took a training course in differences between the reference plant and the nuclear power plant under construction. For the first time ever, the course is held at the customer’s premises in Turkey. The training program is divided into two stages. During the first stage, the Turkish operators studied systems and equipment of the operating reactor at the reference Novovoronezh NPP. The second stage consists of two modules. The first module is dedicated to differences between Akkuyu and Novovoronezh, while the second module provides for practical training on a full-scale control room simulator. Training courses are held in accordance with the Akkuyu operation and maintenance facilitation contract. In total, 1,300 employees will undergo training to work at the first and second reactor units of the Turkish nuclear power plant.