Study in Russia, work in Turkey: MEPhI trains professionals for Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant

Ten years ago, the Russian Federation and Republic of Turkey signed the intergovernmental agreement on the cooperation in the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. After that, the first Turkish students start to receive education in the field of nuclear technology in Russian universities. The opportunity to learn in Russia was in demand: on the average 78 people for one place.

Turkey requires professionals capable of operating nuclear power plants. About 3.5 thousand people will be required to work after the commissioning of all four power units. About 30% of personnel will be Turkish citizens.

University training for nuclear power plants have begun long before the first concrete is poured. The first students from Turkey have enrolled the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI in 2011 — just a year after signing the intergovernmental agreement. In 2015, Peter the Great St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University (SPbPU) have enrolled the first students in the training program for the Akkuyu project.

At MEPhI, in the framework of the specialty “The nuclear power plant: design, operation, engineering” the future employees of Turkish NPP can choose one of the tree field of study “Design and operation of nuclear power plants”, “Control and management systems for nuclear plants”, “Radiation safety of nuclear power plants”.  Since 2019, Turkish bachelors can enter the SPbPU master's program in the specialties “Electrical engineering and electric power engineering” and “Heat engineering and heat-power engineering”.

Future specialists do traineeships at Rosatom — at stations and enterprises that produce equipment and components for NPP, for example, Atomenergoremont, Atommash, etc.

The first Turkish students have graduated in 2018. All graduates have already been working for Akkuyu Nuclear. In February of this year, more than 50 students from Turkey have received MEPhI diplomas. Now 46 people are studying at SPbPU, 81 — at MEPhI.

As soon as future nuclear scientists from Turkey finish their studies, they immediately receive a job offer. One of the graduates of this year Ozlem Arslan has been  personally invited by Anastasia Zoteeva, Director General of Akkuyu Nuclear. Ozlem have graduated with honours.

“For you, this is the beginning of a long and very interesting journey. We are pleased to see young Turkish specialists. It’s crucial that smart Turkish guys choose the nuclear industry and can participate in the development of Turkey’s nuclear energy” said Anastasia Zoteeva at the meeting with Ozlem Arslan.

It is planned that 600 citizens of Turkey will receive education in Russia for working at Akkuyu NPP.

Orchun Choban, MEPhI graduate:

— During first year I studied Russian language, not only colloquial vocabulary, but also technical one. Now we are good at scientific style: we can write articles on Russian, we have access to an array of information on Russian scientists’ developments, and there is no need to translate. We have started our studies from alphabet. Now Russian has almost become our second native language, and we are specialists in the field of nuclear energy.

I have had traineeships at Leningrad and Novovoronezh NPP-2, Rostov NPP. The practice at Novovoronezh NPP-2 is particularly useful for me because of station referentiality for Akkuyu.

I look forward to work at Akkuyu Nuclear. NPP will have a unit that is responsible for radiation safety, active and passive safety systems, and I will work in it.

Julia Zholobova, HR Director, Akkuyu Nuclear:

— This year we have already waited for graduates at the Akkuyu NPP. I am sure that they will quickly integrate into production processes. At first, they will have to work with technical documentation for equipment and NPP systems, and then they will participate in all major works. The training program does not end after graduating from university — there will be internships at Russian nuclear power plants after employment.

Source (on Russian)