Akkuyu nuclear power plant to have core holder vessel in September

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The strategic Turkish-Russian energy project Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), poised to be the first nuclear power plant in Turkey, will have its core holder vessel placed in September, Akkuyu Nuclear Inc. General Manager Anastasia Zoteeva said in a meeting with reporters in Sochi on Tuesday.

Zoteeva explained that the "core holder vessel" will be brought by four ships from Russia to Akkuyu Port, which will be opened in June, adding: "In some way, we can consider it a giant vessel made of an alloy of various metals. When uranium falls in the vessel, in case of any molten uranium leaks, it will close like a Venus flytrap. Since there will be no leakage into the soil and water and the uranium will be completely buried, there will be no risk."

Underlining that the nuclear power plant will be resistant to up to magnitude 9.0 earthquakes, Zoteeva noted that there would be measures to prevent a crack in the plant – even in the case of a possible plane crash.

Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant General Manager Zoteeva and Deputy General Manager Anton Dedusenko met with journalists at the ATOMEXPO International Forum in Russia.

Sharing information about the current state of the Akkuyu project, Zoteeva said that they received a license to complete the first unit of the nuclear power plant in 2018. According to Zoteeva, the main construction section started in April last year, and they started to build walls around the first unit. Also, the port section, scheduled to open in June, has been completed so that large equipment can arrive. The first large-scale equipment will come in June. The "core holder vessel" is a new Russian technology and the most important element among the updated post-Fukushima security measures. This vessel will start to be installed in the reactor base in September. "We also expect to receive a license for the construction of the second unit in several months," Zoteeva added.

Zoteeva indicated that the first reactor of the nuclear power plant will be installed in 2023 and said: "Both your president and our head of state set the date of 2023, and we are obliged to fulfill their instructions strictly. Construction continues very quickly, and we are doing our best to complete the project."

Sharing information on the localization of the nuclear industry, Zoteeva noted that they would primarily choose Turkish investors since they will get rid of a lot of expenses in terms of logistics and customs in this way. Moreover, they are buying a large amount of iron from Turkey in the construction phase. However, they bring some products requiring nuclear sufficiency from Russia. They plan to buy approximately 40 percent of materials from Turkey, and 90 percent of employees will be Turkish.

Responding to the question of what he thinks about the European Parliament's initiatives to halt construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, Zoteeva said: "According to their claims, construction is very harmful to the environment. They have put forward allegations that it could harm neighboring countries like Greece. The aim of the European Parliament is to stop the development of nations. The European Parliament is not our addressee." Noting that they will move ahead no matter what they say, Zoteeva said: "Therefore, we will mind our business. Let those who are jealous do whatever they want."

Emphasizing that there will be no deviation from the previously announced cost of $20 billion for the project, Zoteeva touched on quests to find a partner for the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. He said: "We have changed our strategy a little. This is because the value of our power plant increases every year as a result of investments. In this context, we have given up selling 49 percent of the shares."

Noting that they are currently in talks with two potential investors, Zoteeva said they regard it as a long-term process. "We welcome offers, but we need serious investors. We are not in a hurry; we have money and we are trying to choose the best one right now."

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