Construction begins of fourth Turkish reactor

21 July 2022

First safety-related concrete has been poured for the fourth unit of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant under construction in the Mersin province of Turkey. The Akkuyu project - Turkey's first nuclear power plant - is based on an intergovernmental agreement Russia and Turkey signed in 2010.

A ceremony marked the start of construction of Akkuyu 4 (Image: Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources)

A construction licence for Akkuyu 4 was granted by Turkey's Nuclear Regulatory Authority in October 2021.

The pouring of first concrete was preceded by a wide range of preparatory work which included dewatering, excavation of a basement pit, installation of a concrete cushion and waterproofing, reinforcement of the basement and installation of embedded parts.

A ceremony was held at the Akkuyu site to mark the milestone of the first concrete to be poured. Attendees included Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez; Chairman of the Energy Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Ziya Altunyaldız; Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachov; Akkuyu Nuclear JSC Director General Anastasia Zoteeva; Governor of Mersin Province Ali Hamza Pehlivan; Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey Alparslan Bayraktar; Head of the General Directorate of Nuclear Energy and International Projects, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources Afşin Burak Bostancı; and President of Turkey's Nuclear Regulatory Authority Zafer Demircan.

The pouring of concrete of unit 4's basemat gets under way (Image: Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources)

In total, some 17,000 cubic metres of concrete will be used to create a 2.6-metre-thick basemat for the reactor building.

Rosatom is building four VVER-1200 reactors at Akkuyu, under a so-called BOO (build-own-operate) model. Construction of units 1-3 began in April 2018, April 2020 and March 2021, respectively. The first unit is due to start operations in 2023, which is the centenary of the founding of the Turkish Republic.

"When completed, the four reactors will meet 10% of our electricity demand," Dönmez said. "Akkuyu will play an important role not just through the electricity generation, but also with its contribution to our green energy goal. Akkuyu will prevent 35 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, and a total of 2.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions during its 60 years of operation.

"State-of-the-art third generation VVER-1200-type reactors with the highest safety standards will be used in Akkuyu. Thus, we will support our energy supply security with an environmentally friendly, cost-competitive, and reliable energy source."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News