Construction begins on Unit 4 of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant


Construction work has started on the fourth unit of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant (NPP) at Akkuyu, according to Akkuyu Nuclear, which is a subsidiary of the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom. The preparatory work includes excavations for the reactor building, turbine hall, the auxiliary reactor building and other main facilities. 

Akkuyu Nuclear said the excavation work at the site in Turkey’s Mersin province, is being undertaken in accordance with the Limited Work Permit issued by the Turkish Nuclear Regulatory Authority in June this year. The excavations cover an area of 655 square metres, and to a maximum depth of almost 12.5 metres. Almost 600,000 cubic metres of soil in total will be removed and soil strengthening works carried out, the company said.  

“This year, we expect to receive the construction license for Unit 4 and begin full-scale construction works on the unit early next year. By the end of the year, the construction of the concrete blinding of the reactor and turbine buildings foundation slabs will begin, and afterwards the reinforcement of the slabs will be made”, Akkuyu Nuclear first deputy CEO Sergei Butckikh said. “Simultaneous construction of four power units of the NPP will require high concentration of resources, but we are fully prepared for this”, he added.  

Earlier this year, Rosatom had announced the start of construction on the third unit of the Akkuyu NPP. A ceremony to mark the launch of construction of Unit 3 was held at the site in March. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined the ceremony via videoconference, while Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez, Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev and Akkuyu Nuclear CEO Anastasia Zoteeva were present at the Akkuyu NPP site. 

A Rosatom statement said that with the start of construction of Unit 3, building and installation works are now being carried out simultaneously at the construction sites of all four Akkuyu NPP power units, making it the world’s largest nuclear construction site with four power units being built simultaneously  

“The concreting of the foundation slab of Akkuyu NPP Unit 1 was completed in March 2019. Up to this date, the core catcher, dry protection, the cantilever truss, and support and thrust trusses have been installed in the unit’s reactor building. The work continues on concreting the walls of the internal structures of the containment, construction of structural contour walls and internal walls, pre-assembly and preparation for installation of the third tier of the inner containment shell”, Rosatom had said. 

“The concreting of the foundation slab of Akkuyu NPP Unit 2 began on April 8, 2020, and was completed in early June 2020. Construction of the circular reactor building walls followed at the unit. Concrete pouring of the annular floor was carried out, the core catcher was installed in the design position, and the first tier of the internal containment shell was erected. Installation of the support truss in the design position is the next milestone planned for this year within the framework of the power unit construction”, the statement added.   

According to Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez, “construction and commissioning of the plant will provide 10 percent of Turkey’s electricity needs. It is also an important contribution to the preservation of our ecology: nuclear power plants are a source of environmentally friendly and uninterrupted electricity. The project is a driver for the development of industry, economy, employment, and also contributes to the development of many related industries.” 

Meanwhile, World Nuclear News reports that the Dutch geotechnical survey company Fugro has completed a six-month offshore site survey in Sinop peninsula on Turkey’s Black Sea coast for a second nuclear power plant in the country. 

Fugro said it had carried out a series of geological, geotechnical and geohazard surveys, including cone penetration testing and sampling, and continuous rock coring from water depths of 20-50 metres, on behalf of Turkish utility EUAS International. According to the company, the survey results have been analysed by teams in Turkey and in the US.