February 24, 2022, Istanbul, Turkey. – Chief Executive Officer of AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC gave an exclusive interview to the nationwide news channel NTV. In the course of more than half an hour of interview aired immediately after the evening news release, Anastasia Zoteeva answered the questions of the presenter Ahmed Arpat. She spoke about the current stage of construction and installation works at the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant site, about the manufacture of equipment, about the potential for Turkish business due to the creation of a new sector of energy industry. Chief Executive Officer of AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC also elaborated on the unique features of the project, safety systems, supervisory control mechanisms and many other topics related to Turkey's first nuclear power plant.


Answering the question of the presenter about the progress of Akkuyu NPP construction, Anastasia Zoteeva noted: “Construction is underway at four units simultaneously, and this is a unique situation for nuclear construction sites. Now Akkuyu NPP site is one of the largest nuclear construction sites in the world. At Unit 1, we begin the most important operation – welding of the main circulation pipeline. And if we draw an analogy with the human body, this is the connection of the heart with the vessels and the entire human vascular system. That is, the nuclear reactor is connected through pipelines to steam generators and circulation pumps. This is a complex process operation, we are ready for it and will begin it in the nearest future. Then we close the dome of the reactor building. This year, we are starting to prepare the installation of a turbine that will produce electricity of Unit 1. At Unit 2, we will mount the nuclear reactor vessel this year. We use a unique technology for mounting the reactor pressure vessel using the Open Top method, when the vessel is lifted and lowered with the help of a crane directly to the design position intended for it. At Unit 3, we will install the melt trap this year. This is a unique development of Russian scientists, one of the most important elements of the nuclearpower plant passive safety systems. At Unit 4, we started preparing the foundations for the reactor building and the turbine compartment. In addition to the construction of the main buildings of reactors and turbines for four units, we are building another 560 general and auxiliary facilities that are necessary for the operation of the nuclear power plant.”


In response to Ahmed Arpat's question about the unique features of Akkuyu NPP project, Anastasia Zoteeva emphasized: “Akkuyu NPP project is unique in everything. This is the largest investment project in the history of Russian-Turkish relations and one of the largest investment projects in the world. The volume of investments in the project is about 20 billion dollars. A huge international team is working at the construction site today – 20 thousand people. This a unique example of productive interaction between the Russian and Turkish professional communities, a model for managing the construction of a nuclear power plant.”


Chief Executive Officer of AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC commented on the subject of equipment manufacturing as follows: “The main equipment that ensures the NPP operation safety is, of course, produced in Russia. These are the reactor, melt trap, steam generators and other process equipment. Very serious requirements are imposed on the enterprises that participate in this process, on the quality of their products. To meet those requirements, the equipment is produced at the best enterprises in different countries. For example, the main equipment of a steam turbine plant will be manufactured in France, a large amount of equipment is produced in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and South Korea. Our project is multinational in terms of equipment. The Turkish industry is also actively involved, for example, Turkish enterprises will manufacture a desalination plant, treatment plants, cable and pump products, and many other equipment sets. The opportunities for growth and development of Turkish industry are endless!”


In continuation of the conversation, Anastasia Zoteeva noted the contribution of Turkish companies to the project implementation: “We now have more than 100 Turkish companies working, and they are doing well. They are ready to learn, they are ready to develop, they are ready to meet new requirements. They are ready to create scientific clusters, which are necessary, for example, in order to produce equipment to work according to the standards for the construction of nuclear facilities. We provide them with all the conditions, support them, help them take their first steps in the nuclear industry, which is new for them. To provide comprehensive support for localization processes, that is, locating the production of materials and equipment in Turkey, we have a working group with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish Standards Institution. The total localization potential is about 6 billion dollars, and to date, contracts worth more than 2 billion dollars have been concluded with Turkish companies. The potential here is very large, and our Turkish partners, friends and colleagues are very active in the direction of their own development.”


A separate part of the interview was devoted to the safety systems and principles of Akkuyu NPP. In her response, Anastasia Zoteeva rejected the possibility of repeating the Chernobyl and Fukushima scenarios: “The repetition of these scenarios at Akkuyu NPP is absolutely impossible. Akkuyu NPP reactor is of a completely different type and generation. This is a new technology, a unique development and it is as safe as possible. After the Fukushima accident, the requirements for nuclear safety were significantly tightened in Russia and around the world, and 3+ generation reactors, to which the Akkuyu NPP reactor belongs, was released precisely in the post-Fukushima period. This technology takes into account all the mistakes, all the experience, all the risks in the entire history of nuclear technology. In addition to active security systems, we will have the so-called "passive systems" that operate according to the laws of physics and do not require a source of electricity, human intervention or automation. About 40% of the cost of modern nuclear power plants is precisely the safety systems.”


Chief Executive Officer of AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC also commented in detail on the issue of the NPP construction supervisory control: “We have a multi-level supervision system. That is, the general contractor has its own supervision, which monitors the quality of work of subcontractors. The customer, that is, AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC, has its own supervision, which supervises the general contractor very seriously. In addition, the project also has independent construction supervision, this is the French company Assystem, which is extremely professional in the construction of nuclear power plants. At a nuclear power plant, a commission is always held before any construction event, including concreting, before completion of work at any site. It includes the general designer, independent construction control, construction control of the general contractor, construction control of the customer and, most importantly, of course, the Turkish regulator, the Nuclear Regulatory Agency. There are many eyes here, and all of them control the quality of all work with great responsibility. And our quality is impeccable!”


In the final part of the broadcast, Anastasia Zoteeva answered the presenter's questions about the training program for Turkish engineers for the positions of the NPP operational personnel, as well as about social projects implemented by AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC in the plant construction region.


“The training program for Turkish personnel for the Akkuyu NPP continues, now more than a hundred people are being educated in Russia. Almost 200 people have already graduated from the program. All of them work in the technical management of our company. These are the reactor shop, the turbine shop, the power distribution system shop, etc. Young specialists are now preparing the commissioning of a nuclear power plant, and then they will work in these shops. They received a very good education, and it was not easy. Nuclear physics is a complex intellectual product. Young Turkish engineers are very strong-willed and hot-eyed, they are constantly improving something. As for social projects, they cover almost all areas; medicine – we help hospitals, education – we help schools, sports – we organize events ourselves and sponsor third-party sports competitions that are held in the region. Together with children from our and Turkish schools, we clean the beaches, participate in the project for the protection of sea turtles, and plant trees. And many other things. We jointly grow and develop this region, we invest in its beauty, youth and respect for old age,” said Anastasia Zoteeva.


Video footage of the exclusive interview with AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC CEO is available at the link: