Cairo, 21 July 2022 (TDI): Russia’s construction of a new nuclear power plant in Egypt is underway as the first safety-related concrete has been poured for the nuclear island of unit 1 of the El Dabaa nuclear power plant in Egypt.

In light of the first safety-related concrete being poured for the nuclear island, it indicates the official beginning of the construction of the first of four Russian-supplied VVER-1200 reactors. That is, at the site on the country’s Mediterranean coast.

A ceremony was held to mark the pouring of the first concrete for El Dabaa 1. In attendance was the Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Mohamed Shaker.

Also, the NPPA Chairman, Amged El-Wakeel, and Rosatom Director General, Alexey Likhachov were in attendance.

Rosatom Director General highlighted that the construction launch at El-Dabaa NPP unit 1 indicates that Egypt has joined the nuclear club.

As well that the nuclear power plant construction will allow Egypt to reach a new level of technology, industry, and education development.

Most importantly, Likhachov said that the plant will be the biggest project of the Russian-Egyptian cooperation since the Aswan High Dam.

He pointed out that it has been a dream for the people of Egypt to have their own nuclear energy industry and acknowledged Rosatom for making the dream a reality.

Minister Shaker likewise expressed delight during the ceremony commemorating the pouring of the first concrete for unit 1.

He further said that the political leadership and the Egyptian-Russian cooperation contributed to the implementation of “this ambitious project” in spite of the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. That is, it did not have a negative impact on the project.

The El Dabaa nuclear power plant project

It is approximately 320 kilometers northwest of Cairo. The nuclear power plant project is based on contracts that became operational on 11 December 2017.

The plant will include four VVER-1200 units, similar to those that are in operation already at the Leningrad and Novovoronezh nuclear power plants in Russia, and the Ostrovets nuclear power plant in Belarus.

Thereby, the contracts specify that Rosatom will also supply Russian nuclear fuel for its entire life cycle and not only build the plant.

In addition, the contracts stipulate that they will further assist Egyptian partners in training personnel and plant maintenance for the first 10 years of its operation.

Rosatom will also build a special storage facility and supply containers for storing used nuclear fuel as well.

Previous developments

Recently in June, the atomic energy company, Rosatom, announced the beginning of production of equipment for the Egyptian nuclear power plant in Dabaa.

This announcement corresponded with the visit to Moscow by the high-level Egyptian delegation. The delegation was led by the head of Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA), Amgad al-Wakeel.

It was on the 1st of June during the time that he visited the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant and Russian factories in the city of Kolpino.

In line with the statement by NPPA on June 1, the Egyptian delegation in Russia inspected two new power units with third-generation VVER-1200 reactors developed at the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant.

Previously, in June 2021, the Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA), the owner of the plant, submitted its application to the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (ENRRA). Specifically for construction permits for units 1 and 2 of the El Dabaa plant.

Subsequently, it submitted an application for construction licenses for units 3 and 4 on the 30th of December.

ENRRA, therefore, issued a construction license for unit 1 of the plant on June 29, before the schedule, permitting concrete pouring for the first reactor to start.