Turkey plans to complete 27.5% of its first nuclear power plant, the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), by the end of this year, according to the 2021 Performance Program of the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry of Turkey.
The program, which outlines the steps that will be taken in the energy sector this year, determined the country’s targets for the development and coordination of the nuclear power plant and nuclear infrastructure for 2021.
According to this year’s performance program, 16.25% of the plant, including construction, permits, licenses and approvals was completed at the end of last year. This considers very favorably with the forecast of last year’s program, which estimated progress at less than half of this at 8%.
For 2021, the performance program last year determined progress at 16% but this has been revised up in this year’s program to 27.5%.
Under this year’s performance program, while the estimated completion rate for 2022 is determined as 41.25%, project progress of 56.25% is expected in 2023.
The operation start of the first of the plant’s four VVER-1200 reactors is scheduled for 2023. All the remaining three units are due to start operations by the end of 2026, at a rate of one per year to ultimately have a total installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts.
On Jan. 23, 2020, the welding of the reactor cover for the plant was completed, according to Atommash, the Volgodonsk branch of AEM-technology, which operates alongside Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom's machine-building division of Atomenergomash.
The manufacture of a set of bends for the reactor coolant pipeline for the first unit of the plant was also completed on March 23. On June 26, Turkey’s energy minister announced the laying of the second unit's foundation. On June 30, the production of a set of steam generators for the first unit was completed.
On July 16, hydraulic tests were made for the reactor pressure vessel of the first unit and on Aug. 24, the shipment of steam generators for the first unit began.
On Sept. 10, the final manufacturing stage of the first reactor started. On Oct. 17, a construction license was granted to begin construction of the plant’s third unit this spring.
An intergovernmental agreement between Turkey and Russia was signed in May 2010 for plant construction. On April 3, 2018, the plant's groundbreaking ceremony was held with the participation of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin via video conference call from Ankara.
Once completed, Akkuyu NPP will produce 35 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually when it is fully commissioned. As a baseload plant, it will play a leading role in reducing dependence on imported energy resources, especially natural gas.
Turkey's total electricity consumption last year was 305 billion kWh. Thus, Akkuyu NPP is expected to meet around 10% of the country's power consumption.
The total investment volume of the plant is calculated to stand at $20 billion.
By Firdevs Yuksel and Nuran Erkul Kaya