Atommash has completed hydraulic testing of the reactor pressure vessel for Unit 1 at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, the four-unit facility currently under construction on the Mediterranean coast in southern Turkey. Atommash is part of Atomenergomash, the engineering division of Rosatom, which is Russia’s state atomic energy agency.
The tests on the 330-tonne reactor pressure vessel were carried out with a maximum pressure of 24.5 megapascals, which is about 1.4 times higher than operating pressure, according to a July 13 news release from Atomenergomash.
What they’re saying: “Hydraulic tests have confirmed the strength of the base metal and welded joints of the reactor pressure vessel [and] the readiness of the item for operation at the power plant for a specified life of 60 years,” said Rovshan Abbasov, director of Atommash.
Background: The Akkuyu project involves the construction of four 1,114-MWe Generation III+ VVER pressurized water reactors, model AES-2006. The design is based on the new generation of reactors being built in Russia, the first of which was Novovoronezh II-1. Akkuyu-1 is scheduled for commercial operation in 2023, with Units 2, 3, and 4 to follow in 2024, 2025, and 2026, respectively.
It has been estimated that when all four Akkuyu reactors are in operation, they will generate about 10 percent of Turkey’s electricity. The $20-billion project is the world’s first nuclear power plant to be built using the build-own-operate financing model.
Milestones in the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant include the following:
Akkuyu Nükleer—the Rosatom subsidiary responsible for designing, building, maintaining, operating, and decommissioning the plant—received a construction license from the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) on April 2, 2018. Construction officially commenced on April 3 with the first pour of concrete for the basemat of the Akkuyu-1 reactor building.
In December 2018, Akkuyu Nükleer received a limited work permit from TAEK that allowed the start of construction and installation work on Akkuyu-2 buildings and other structures, excluding those important for nuclear safety.
The basemat for Akkuyu-1 was completed on March 8, 2019. More than 17,000 cubic meters of self-compacting concrete were poured.
The first major piece of equipment for Akkuyu—the core catcher for Unit 1—was delivered on July 29, 2019.