The first large piece of equipment for the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Unit 1 – the core catcher – has been delivered to the construction site in the Mediterranean province of Mersin, the plant's project company announced yesterday.
The component, which will be installed under the nuclear reactor pressure vessel, is a cone-shaped tank weighing 150 tons made of high-temperature steel, Akkuyu Nuclear JSC said in a statement. It added that the core catcher is an important component of the 3+ generation nuclear reactors' passive safety systems.
"We have witnessed the arrival of the core catcher – an important security system equipment – to the site. The core catcher is an element designed for the third-generation nuclear power plants, including the Akkuyu NPP, which allows increasing the level of its nuclear safety. The installation of this equipment will be completed by the end of this year," the statement cited Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez, who recently held a working meeting at the Akkuyu NPP construction site with the General Director of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom Alexei Likhachev, as saying.
"It is worth noting that the first large-sized equipment has arrived at the construction site is a nuclear safety system component. The safety and reliability of an NPP are laid down long before the start of its operation. The implementation of nuclear safety principals from the very first day of the project implementation as well as the constant control over the construction works are an essential part of the construction process. This approach is applied through the entire lifetime of the plant, which is 60 years, with possible extension," Anastasiya Zoteeva, chief executive officer of Akkuyu NPP, said.
"The Akkuyu Project relies upon the experience of construction and operation of the plants with the same design type in Russia. It stipulates a combination of active and passive systems assuring NPP safety under any external conditions," she added.
The statement also noted that the construction work at Unit 1, for which the core catcher is intended, is being carried according to the plan while the preparatory works for the catcher installation are in progress. All the construction phases are thoroughly monitored by independent inspection organizations and national regulatory authority, the Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NDK).
The core catcher is an important component of the most modern 3+ generation nuclear reactors' passive safety systems, which in case of need prevents the release of reactor core radioactive materials into the atmosphere. The company said the core catcher for the first NPP in Turkey has been manufactured by the Russian enterprise JSC TyazhMash, specializing in this kind of equipment. The first two core catching devices manufactured at JSC TyazhMash have already been assembled at the Tianwan NPP in China, two have been shipped for delivery to Rooppur NPP in Bangladesh. The Kudankulam NPP in India will be equipped with four more.
Russia's state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom is building Turkey's first nuclear plant in the southern province of Mersin. The project is implemented in accordance with the intergovernmental agreement signed between Turkey and Russia on May 12, 2010. Construction of the plant started in April 2018 at a groundbreaking ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin via a video conference call from the Beştepe Presidential Complex in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
Rosatom and other participants will build the plant, which consists of four units, each of which has a capacity of 1,200 megawatts (MW). The plant will have a working life of 8,000 hours per year and will produce 35 billion kilowatts (KW) of electricity at full capacity, which will meet about 10 percent of Turkey's electricity needs.
The project's company was granted a license for the first unit of the power plant in April 2018 and received a limited work permit for unit 2 on Nov. 20. This next stage will involve obtaining the main construction license to lay the foundation for the second unit.
The plant has an operational start date of 2023 for the first reactor, while the plant is expected to be up and running at full capacity by 2025.