Russian state nuclear company Rosatom has started the commissioning stage of the first unit at the Akkuyu NPP in Turkey, according to a press statement released by the organisation.

Commenting on the progress at Akkuyu, Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachev said work on the “nuclear island” 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,” he commented. “We are doing everything to ensure that next year the first unit of Akkuyu NPP becomes part of the energy system of the Republic of Türkiye. All our efforts and the work of Turkish companies are aimed at this. There are many of them here, and they show great professionalism as well as mobilisation.”

Rosatom said that assembly of electric motors in the reactor coolant pump is “set in full swing” and that steel ropes of the containment prestressing system will be tightened in the near future.

Akkuyu is the first NPP to be built in Turkey and will consist of four Russia-designed water-water energetic reactors (VVERs). Construction began in 2018, with the first nuclear fuel being delivered to the site in April 2023.

Likhachev added that Rosatom aims to start up the first unit later this year. All four units should be operational by the end of 2028 and could produce 10% of Turkey’s electricity needs.

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The state-run company considers the Turkey project important as part of its influence on the global development of nuclear power.

“Russia continues a productive dialog with its foreign colleagues, developing cooperation with countries from all over the world and actively forming a multi-polar system of international relations,” it said in its statement. “The implementation of major foreign energy projects also continues. Rosatom and its entities are actively involved in this activity.”

Following the construction of the Akkuyu NPP, Turkey is planning to build two more at Sinop and Thrace.

According to the World Nuclear Industry Annual Report for 2023, Rosatom is the world’s primary constructor and exporter of reactors, building 24 out of the 58 constructed around the world as of mid-2023.