ECONOMY

Akkuyu nuclear plant tracks progress one year on

A one-year milestone in the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant (NPP) is indicative of the successful cooperation between the partner countries to the plant; Russia and Turkey, the plant's project company, Akkuyu Nuclear announced Friday.

On March 8, the laying of the foundation for the first reactor of the NPP was completed in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency's safety standards and Turkey's national requirements, according to the company.

Currently, works are in progress for the second unit, which received its limited work permit on Nov. 20. This next stage will involve obtaining the main construction license to lay the foundation for the second unit.

In addition, the operating company is awaiting the operation permit from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure of Turkey to begin construction of the Eastern Cargo Terminal that will provide equipment to the plant.

Progress has already been made for the third reactor with the submission of the necessary documentation for the unit's construction license to the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority.

Anastasia Zoteeva, chief executive officer of Akkuyu Nuclear, a subsidiary of Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, hailed the plant's activities during the first year of construction as a success noting that 70 percent of the plant's entire site is ready, and the remaining works will be finished by the end of the year.

Nonetheless, she cautioned that that there is a lot of work ahead.

"Works planned for 2019 include the establishment of foundations for the technical and nuclear infrastructure of units 1 and 2, under the effective license and permits granted. We rely on our Turkish partners working together with us on site. This first active year results prove we can do things efficiently together. As Rosatom, we believe the ability to speak common languages is of great value, and the Akkuyu project dynamics is also evidence of this," she said.

In preparation to employ highly qualified staff at the plant, 35 Turkish students graduated from the Russian National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI) and joined the Akkuyu project in May 2018. In February 2019, the company offered jobs to 53 new graduates of MEPhI to join the project in May 2019.

The company aims to increase the number employed on site from the currently 783, 90 percent of whom are Turkish citizens, to 1,500 by the end of the year.

During the anticipated peak construction phase between 2023 and 2024, the project is forecast to create jobs for almost 9,000 people, and once operational, the plant will employ about 3,500 people.

The intergovernmental agreement was signed between Russia and Turkey in May 2010 for the plant that will consist of four VVER-1200 power units with a total installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts.

Upon completion, the plant will generate about 35 billion kilowatts-hours of electricity per year, with a service life of 60 years.

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