By Huseyin Erdogan
Technical feasibility studies that determine the site suitability of Turkey's Sinop Nuclear Plant will be completed by the end of this year, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry's Sinop Nuclear Energy President said in a recent interview.
The construction of Turkey's second nuclear plant, after the first in Akkuyu in Turkey's southern province of Mersin, plans to be located in the country's northern region.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry's Sinop Nuclear Energy President Makoto Kanda said they target to finish all the feasibility studies, including technical and commercial, by March 2018.
In May 2013, the Turkish government accepted the Japanese government's proposal to install four ATMEA1 reactors with a total capacity of about 4,800 megawatts for the Sinop project.
Kanda said that an independent committee, known as the Senior Seismic Hazard Assessment Committee (SSHAC), which consists of Turkish, Japanese and European independent experts and professors, reviewed the outcome of the first batch of surveys and in accordance with the committee's instructions, additional onshore and offshore surveys are being conducted.
The outcomes of these additional surveys will be reported to the SSHAC and experts will define seismic ground motion levels at the Sinop site, he explained.
The project sponsors of the consortium include; Japan's MHI, Itochu, and France's Engie with a planned share of 51 percent, and Turkey's Electricity Generation Company (EUAS) with a share of 49 percent upon incorporation of the Sinop project company.
The project sponsors will complete Sinop nuclear power plant project’s site suitability report by the end of this year.
Kanda underlined that they are currently just concluding the suitability of the site for a nuclear power plant. The following steps for the Sinop project will be taken in accordance with International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) guidelines.
"We are organizing meetings with the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) on the codes and standards that will be used for this project," he said and explained that firstly Turkish regulations will be considered and then IAEA guidelines will be taken into account.
"We will first apply for the site license and then the construction license, but not during the feasibility studies," Kanda said. They are cooperating with TAEK to clarify the needs of the licensing process and details on the documentation, he added.
During the commercial feasibility studies, the business plan will be developed, Kanda said. "We need to agree on major conditions of the Power Purchase Agreement. To speed up the Sinop NPP project, the project sponsors are expecting support from the Turkish government," Kanda said.
Safety systems of ATMEA1 reactor
The nuclear reactors that will be installed, the ATMEA1, are newly designed with enhanced safety systems in place in the event of accidents.
The ATMEA1 is equipped with four diesel generators plus one gas turbine generator for power in the event of emergencies. Additionally, they will be located in a waterproof building at high elevation to protect from floods and tsunamis.
In addition to seawater cooling, air-cooling is available as a backup to maintain core-cooling capabilities. Even in the very unlikely event of a severe accident, the core catcher system will maintain containment integrity and will prevent the release of radioactive material.
The ATMEA1 reactors, developed by joint venture company comprising Japan's MHI and French Areva are third plus generation pressurized water reactors developed using verified French and Japanese nuclear technology.
Turkey plans to build three nuclear power plants, the first at Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant in the Mersin province; the second at the Sinop Nuclear Power Plant and the third plant's location has not yet been announced.
Nuclear power capacity worldwide is increasing steadily, with over 60 reactors under construction in 15 countries, according to the World Nuclear Association.