Akkuyu nuclear plant's first airlock gateway installed

03 May 2024

The 7-metre diameter and 14-metres long cylindrical chamber has an airlock system allowing the moving of material or equipment into and out of the heart of the first unit at Turkey's new Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant.

(Image: Rosatom)

The 260-tonne structure was installed using a caterpillar crane. It will allow the delivery of equipment for the operation and maintenance of the reactor compartment, such as the upper reactor unit, reactor coolant pump, primary circuit pipelines and steam generators.

Once the unit is in operation, used and fresh fuel and other equipment can pass through it, with the doors at either end able to maintain an airlock system to ensure the reactor compartment remains sealed.

(Image: Rosatom)

Sergei Butckikh, first deputy CEO of Akkuyu NPP, said the installation meant they were "one step closer to the completion" of the first unit and it was "a result of well-coordinated and labour-intensive work of Russian and Turkish specialists" working in the Akkuyu project team.

Akkuyu, in the southern Mersin province, is Turkey's first nuclear power plant. Rosatom is building four VVER-1200 reactors, under a so-called BOO (build-own-operate) model. According to the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey, the commissioning of the first power unit of the nuclear power plant must take place within seven years from receipt of all permits for the construction of the unit.

The licence for the construction of the first unit was issued in 2018, with construction work beginning that year. Nuclear fuel was delivered to the site in April 2023. Turkey's Nuclear Regulatory Agency issued permission for the unit to be commissioned in December, and in February it was announced that the reactor compartment had been prepared for controlled assembly of the reactor - and the generator stator had also been installed in its pre-design position.

The aim is for the unit to begin supplying Turkey's energy system in 2025. When the 4800 MWe plant is completed it is expected to meet about 10% of Turkey's electricity needs, with the aim that all four units will be operational by the end of 2028.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News