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IAEA Mission Concludes Site and External Events Design Review in Turkey

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Ankara Turkey

IAEA’s SEED Mission Team in Ankara, Turkey (Photo Credit: IAEA)

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts has concluded a five-day Site and External Events Design (SEED) mission to Turkey.

Turkey, with a population of around 80 million people, started its nuclear power programme to meet an increasing demand for electricity and to support economic development. Turkey’s plans to build its first nuclear power reactors at the Akkuyu site include four 1200 megawatt-electric units of the Russian VVER technology. The first unit is scheduled to receive its operational license in 2023.

The SEED team reviewed matters related to design protection against external hazards of the planned Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) on Turkey’s southern coast. Possible hazards reviewed included tsunamis, geotechnical hazards relating to the foundation and soil, earthquakes and aircraft crashes.

The mission, concluded on 28 July in Ankara, was requested by the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) and followed up on a SEED review in 2015 of site parameters relevant to the NPP’s design protection against external hazards.

"The timing of this mission was important as TAEK is engaged in its regulatory review of the licensing documentation,” said Shin Morita, Head of the IAEA’s External Events Safety Section. “The mission also provided insight into the application of IAEA’s safety standards,” he added, referring to a set of documents that reflect an international consensus on what is considered a high level of nuclear and radiation safety.

SEED missions are designed to assist Member States at different stages in the development of a nuclear power programme. The SEED safety review service offers a choice of modules on which to focus the review, such as site selection and assessment, and the design of structures, systems and components against site external hazards.

The SEED team was made up of two experts, from Germany and Spain, and two IAEA staff members. The team held talks in Ankara with TAEK President Zafer Alper as well as with safety experts at the regulator, and technical experts with the future operator as well as other technical-support experts.

On behalf of his TAEK colleagues, Fatih Alim, Director of the Nuclear Safety Department, said: “The IAEA SEED mission provided very useful support in strengthening TAEK’s safety review capabilities needed for the ongoing licensing process for the Akkuyu NPP. TAEK very much appreciates the excellent cooperation with the IAEA in this regard.”

SEED team leader Ovidiu Coman, an IAEA Senior Nuclear Safety Officer, said the Turkish counterparts cooperated with the review team in an open and professional manner.

The team identified good practices, including:

  • The PSAR includes provisions, both for the design basis and beyond the design basis, needed for safety margins analysis, for earthquakes, tsunamis and aircraft-crash scenarios.

The team provided suggestions and recommendations for further enhancements, including:

  • The PSAR should be updated to reflect the latest revisions of the hazard studies.
  • The PSAR should clearly indicate the methodology for demonstrating safety margins.

In accordance with IAEA practice, the final mission report will be delivered to the Government within three months.

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