Commissioning work started at Turkey’s first nuclear plant

April 11, 2024, 3:05PMNuclear News
A model of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Mersin, Turkey. (Image: VOA)

The first unit at Akkuyu, Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, has begun the commissioning process. The goal is that the plant will begin supplying energy to the nation next year, according to Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation.

In his words: “The ‘nuclear island’ work is going according to plan. This year we will thoroughly check all systems including the primary circuit, conduct hydraulic tests, and load fuel simulators directly into the reactor. We are doing everything to ensure that next year the first unit of Akkuyu [nuclear power plant] becomes part of the energy system of the Republic of Turkey,” said Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom director general.

The details: Akkuyu will house four Russian-designed VVER generation III+ reactors, each with a capacity of 1,200 MW.The plant is located in the southern Mersin province.

Rosatom is building the reactors under a build-own-operate model and hopes to have all four units operational by the end of 2028.

The plant’s construction license was issued in 2018 and work began that year. The terms of the agreement between Russia and Turkey state that the first power unit must be commissioned within seven years from the receipt of all construction permits.

Commissioning is the process of making the systems and components of the unit operational, testing and monitoring those parts, and verifying they meet the required safety and performance criteria, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Nuclear fuel arrived at the site in 2023, and at that time Likhachev said they hoped to have the first unit start up this year. Once complete, the 4,800-MWe plant will generate about 10 percent of Turkey’s electricity.

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