The Egyptian Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA), announced on Wednesday the start of the construction of the first of four Russian-supplied nuclear reactors at El-Dabaa. Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker, NPPA Chairman Amged El-Wakeel and Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachov attended a ceremony at the power plant to mark the pouring of the first concrete for El-Dabaa 1.
"The construction launch at El-Dabaa NPP unit 1 means that Egypt has joined the nuclear club," said Likhachov. "Construction of the nuclear power plant will allow Egypt to reach a new level of technology, industry and education development."
The Russian official pointed out that the plant will be the largest Russian-Egyptian cooperation project since the Aswan High Dam between 1960 and 1970. "Having their own nuclear energy industry has been a dream for the Egyptian people for more than half-a-century, and it is a great honour for Rosatom to make this dream come true."
Shaker confirmed that the construction of the plant is a "great delight" for the Egyptian government. "This is a historic event." He added that the political leadership and Egyptian-Russian cooperation have ensured the implementation of the ambitious project despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. "It had no negative impact."
El-Dabaa nuclear power plant project is located 320 kilometres north-west of Cairo. The project was developed after contracts were signed on 11 December, 2017. According to World Nuclear News, it will have four VVER-1200 units like those already in operation at the Leningrad and Novovoronezh nuclear power plants in Russia, and the Ostrovets nuclear power plant in Belarus.
The contract stipulates that Rosatom will not only build the plant, but also supply nuclear fuel for its entire life cycle. The company will assist its Egyptian partners in training personnel and plant maintenance for the first 10 years of its operation.
Rosatom is also contracted to build a special storage facility and supply containers for storing used nuclear fuel.
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