Akkuyu NPP Reactor Vessel Bottom Is Made

The Volgodonsk branch of AEM-technology, the large component manufacturing division of Russian nuclear plant builder Rosatom, said Friday that the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel for Turkey’s first nuclear power reactor at Akkuyu (Unit 1) had been manufactured.

Plant construction began in April Akkuyu NPP Unit 1 reactor vessel bottom2018 with a ground-breaking ceremony attended by both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Rosatom, however, is still looking for a Turkish partner in the project after a consortium consisting of Cengiz-Kalyon-Kolin backed out of an agreement to purchase 49 percent of the project, announcing their break with the project in February last year.

AEM-technology said a forged steel “blank” was forged as a pipe “heated in the furnace and under pressure of the press, it was unbent for obtaining a metal sheet.” The process is the only way to forge a reactor pressure vessel bottom with no seams, the company said. 

The reactor pressure vessel bottom weights 64 tons, measuring 5,850 mm in diameter and 300 mm thick.

It underwent two stages of heating at temperatures of 1,040 degrees. The sheet was then placed in die tooling. The bottom was then stamped with a press power of 12000 tons/force before going back into the furnace for heat treatment to relieve residual stresses in metal.

“The temperature in different areas of the part is controlled by means of thermocouples. The operation [will] last six days with heating and cooling alternating with a temperature range of 600-900 degrees. “After cooling in air, the bottom will undergo necessary inspection operations,” AEM-technology said.

“The [entire] manufacturing cycle of a reactor pressure vessel on Atommash takes over two years … While manufacturing equipment for the Foreign Customer we must comply not only with Russian norms and rules for NPP equipment, but with national standards of the country where we supply our products,” said Atommash Director Rovshan Abbasov.

The Akkuyu NPP project was made possible by an Intergovernmental agreement signed in May 2010 between Russia and Turkey. The project calls for Russian designed VVER-1200 power units based on Generation 3+ technology. The serial Russian plant is based on the project at Novovoronezh NPP-2, where the first unit was put online in February 2017.

When constructed, the Akkuyu NPP will have an installed capacity of 4,800 MW, generating 35 billion kWh electricity per year. The lifetime of the VVER-1200 model is expected to be 60 years with a possible extension of 20 additional years.

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