Commissioning work begins for unit 1 of first nuclear power plant in Turkey


Commissioning work has started for unit 1 of the first nuclear power plant (NPP) in Turkey, according to a statement earlier this month by the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom. 

The Akkuyu NPP, located on the southern coast in the country’s Mersin province, is being constructed with the assistance of Rosatom.   

The first unit’s “spent fuel pool passed hydraulic tests, and workers proceeded with assembling a fuel handling machine, which is used for fuel loading into, and unloading from, the reactor core. The work is underway to assemble electric motors for the primary coolant pumps,” a Rosatom release said.  

The first batch of nuclear fuel had been delivered to Turkey last year, making the Akkuyu NPP, thereby, a nuclear facility. 

“This year, we will test all the systems of the primary circuit, conduct hydraulic tests, and load dummy fuel assemblies into the reactor core. We are doing our best for Akkuyu Unit 1 to join the Turkish energy system next year,” Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev said following a visit to the site earlier this month. 

“All our efforts and the work of Turkish companies are aimed at this. There are a great many of them here, and they demonstrate, of course, great professionalism and the same mobilisation,” he added.  

The Akkuyu NPP said in a statement that specialists are installing a reloading machine that will be involved in loading and unloading fuel from the reactor. Assembly of electric motors for the main circulation pump units is also in progress, while the fresh fuel storage facility and the first part of the training centre are operating. 

The Turkish Nuclear Regulatory Agency had issued permission for Akkuyu’s first power unit to be commissioned in December 2023, and in February this year it was announced that the reactor compartment had been prepared for the controlled assembly of the reactor. 

The building and installation work of all four Akkuyu NPP power units are being carried out simultaneously, making it the world’s largest nuclear construction site. All the units are to be equipped with the state-of-the-art Generation-III plus VVER-1200 reactors of 1,200 MW capacity each fitted with both active and passive safety systems.    

With the commissioning of all four units, expected by 2028, the Akkuyu NPP will have a total capacity of 4,800 MW, which is estimated to meet around 10 percent of the country’s electricity needs. 

As per the World Nuclear Industry Annual Report for 2023, Rosatom is the world’s leading constructor and exporter of reactors, building 24 out of the 58 constructed around the world as of mid-2023