43 more Turkish engineers complete Russian nuclear training

Turkey will commission the first reactor for the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in the southern Mersin Province in 2023. As the country prepares for the reactor to come on stream, it has also focused on improving the quality of its job-tailored workforce at the facility.

To this end, another 43 Turkish nuclear engineers graduated from a Russian university on Monday, to which they had been sent for further training, as the country built the nuclear power plant in cooperation with Russian partners.

By accelerating work at the Akkuyu NPP, Ankara hopes to provide more local and renewable energy sources as part of its national energy and mining policy.

The graduates received their diplomas as part of Minister Fatih Dönmez’s training program for energy and natural resources, which aims to create qualified workers for use in the field of nuclear energy. Participants in the program receive a 6 1/2 year training course at the Moscow Institute of Nuclear Physics and Technology (MEPhl) in Moscow and Obninsk, a city where the world’s first nuclear power plant is located.

In 2010, an intergovernmental agreement was signed between Russia and Turkey for the construction of the Akkuyu NPP. Following the agreement, Turkish students were selected based on exam results and interviews from various Turkish universities, including Middle East Technical University (METU), Boğaziçi University, Istanbul Technical University (ITU) and Karadeniz Technical University (KTU).

Students study Russian for a year before embarking on a 5 1/2 year specialty education with other students from different countries as part of similar initiatives.

The Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) in St. Petersburg was also included in the program in 2015.

Around 35 students sent from Turkey completed the MEPhl in 2018, 53 in 2019 and 55 in 2020. The total number of graduates has now reached 186, with 58 students expected to complete their training in 2022.

Forty-seven students were sent to the SPbPU for Masters degrees between 2019 and 2020. Twenty-two will graduate this year and the rest will graduate next year. 25 more students will be sent to the same program later this year.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin led the groundbreaking ceremony for the NPP on April 3, 2018 via video conference.

The concrete work on the bases of the reactor and turbine buildings of the second power plant of the plant was completed in September and a building permit for the third power plant was granted in November. The plant will have four VVER 1200 power reactors with a total installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts (MW).

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