Safety, Environmental Friendliness, Development of the Region. How is the World’s Largest Nuclear Power Plant is Built?

Safety, Environmental Friendliness, Development of the Region. How is the World’s Largest Nuclear Power Plant is Built?

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27 July 2022

The visit of representatives of the public of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kazakh media, experts to the constructed Akkuyu NPP in the Turkish province of Mersin continues. 

The first day of the program was eventful and included visits to various sites of large-scale construction of the first nuclear power plant in the history of the Republic of Turkey. Work on the construction of four power units at the same time is in full swing here, almost 25 thousand people and a record number of special equipment are involved in the construction. Almost 80% of the personnel involved are representatives of Turkey. 

An international team is working at the site of the future NPP, recently it was replenished with 150 builders from Kazakhstan.  It is expected that the largest energy project will give a powerful impetus to the development of the southern region of the country. The construction is carried out by Rosatom State Corporation in accordance with an Intergovernmental agreement signed between Russia and Turkey in 2010.  The launch of the first stage of Akkuyu is scheduled for 2023 and will be timed to coincide with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey.  Members of the Kazakh delegation visited the Vostochny marine berth, were able to get acquainted in detail with the various stages of the construction of pumping stations, melt localization devices, inspect the sites and reactor containment shells under construction, foundations of turbine units. 

Denis Sezyomin, Director of Construction and Production Organization, spoke in detail about each of the stages of construction. The specialist particularly touched upon safety issues, stressing that 4 independent companies are engaged in construction control, including the well-known French A–Sistem, which is subject only to the state regulator from Turkey - the Nuclear Energy Agency. 

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- Today it is the largest operating nuclear power plant in the world. We work around the clock, in several shifts. Unprecedented attention is paid to security issues: 19 posts of an automated radiation situation system will operate throughout the Gulnar and Selifke districts. Information about the radiation situation online will be available on our website, we regularly hold Open Days - a large number of local residents have already visited the station, we acquaint the public with how the NPP is built and will be operated. We are responsible for quality and safety. 

At the press conference held for members of the Kazakh delegation, the Head of the operating company AKKUYU NUCLEAR Anastasia Zoteeva and her Deputy Sergey Butskikh talked a lot about the training of Turkish specialists for the station. Future engineers of the station are learning complex institutional tasks – according to Rosatom specialists, this is a huge breakthrough from the point of view of the intellectual development of the country.  Environmental safety is given the most serious importance here. 

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- The Akkuyu NPP construction site represented mountains and the sea, - says Anastasia Zoteeva. We “cut” the mountains, we filled up the sea, and all this was done under the very serious supervision of Turkish environmentalists. The legislation in Turkey is very strict in this regard. We worked with the Turkish Parliament, held public hearings. Having convinced the Turkish authorities and having passed all the approvals, a full-scale construction has been launched since the beginning of 2018.   

- Generation 3+ nuclear technologies used at Akkuyu are the clean energy of the future, - Sergey Butskikh is convinced. - Modern plant safety systems make up neither more nor less than 40% of the main equipment of the NPP.  

The Head of the delegation of Kazakhstan, Gibrat Auganov, the Managing Director for Public Relations, Social and Labor Relations and Occupational Safety of the Samruk-Kazyna Fund, during a visit to the facilities noted:  

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- Studying the construction of the Akkuyu NPP within the framework of the instruction of the Head of State is a useful experience that in the future will allow making the right decision in choosing partners for the construction of a future NPP in Kazakhstan. In general, we see that the construction of a nuclear power plant in the south of Turkey has made it possible to revive the economic life of the entire region – in addition to the builders themselves, various contracting organizations are involved here, more than 400 Turkish companies of various profiles have received various orders. The infrastructure of several districts is improving, settlements and hotels are built, and trade volumes are growing. It is clear that we are “trying all this on ourselves”, the Kazakh experts and public figures present here were able to see the obvious advantages of building a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan using the example of Akkuyu. 

Marat Dulkairov, Honored Power Engineer of Kazakhstan, head of the Union of Power Engineers of the Republic of Kazakhstan, believes that today Kazakhstan has no alternative to nuclear energy. The only question is which technology to choose – without the right to make a mistake. 

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- Today there is quite a large selection of technologies from different countries, up to small “mobile” reactors. But I am deeply convinced that we have no moral right to experiment with the type of nuclear power plant. We need to be clearly aware that we cannot once again become a testing ground. We need proven, tested technologies.  

The expert speaks about the shortage of energy in the south of Kazakhstan, five regions, according to him, are provided with energy only by 60%. The expert believes that the country needs a base capacity of a nuclear power plant at the level of 2500 megawatts – and the Balkhash region is the most suitable region for this. 

Rinat Okasov, Deputy General Director of Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants, considers Akkuyu a unique object worthy of the most careful study.  
- Rosatom is a world–class corporation with extensive competencies in the construction and operation of nuclear power plants. The state Corporation is building 35 power units in 12 countries – Hungary, Bangladesh, Egypt, Belarus and others, it is rightfully on our shortlist. 
Members of the Kazakh delegation also met with young Kazakhstani engineers Mirat Kadisov, Yerbol Sagimbayev and Hassan Aladinov, who work on the construction of the Akkuyu NPP. Young people have been working in Turkey for several years, they are noted as promising specialists. Kazakhstani engineers are convinced that they will be able to apply successfully the skills and competencies acquired here in their native Kazakhstan in the future. Today, the delegation of Kazakhstan will meet with residents of Selifke, a city located 80 kilometers from the future nuclear power plant.