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Russia, South Korea sign $2.2bn deal to build Egypt’s first nuclear plant

August 28, 2022 at 3:50 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (L) attend their meeting in Sochi, Russia, on 17 October 2018. [Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Image]

South Korea has entered into an agreement worth $2.25 billion (3 trillion won) with Russia’s state-owned Rosatom to provide buildings and components for Egypt’s first nuclear plant.

According to a statement released on Thursday by South Korea’s energy ministry, the state-owned Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co, won the contract and was selected as the sole bidder for the part of the project at Egypt’s El-Daaba in December 2021.

The nuclear plant’s reactors will be constructed by Russia’s Rosatom while the South Korean firm will build other facilities with the first unit scheduled for commercial operation in 2028.

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol welcomed the deal on his Facebook page, describing it as an illustration of the country’s “excellent nuclear power technology.”

“Nuclear energy does not only play an important role in meeting the increasing demand for electricity and achieving carbon neutrality but it also brings nations together,” Rosatom Director for International Business Boris Arseev said at the signing ceremony, according to a company press release.

“We at Rosatom strongly believe that nuclear cooperation must not stop in these turbulent times. On the contrary, it is of paramount importance to develop and expand it further benefitting our countries.”

Nikkei Asia reported that the project will be the first time in 13 years that a South Korean company has been commissioned to build an overseas nuclear plant. The last one was a contract to build four units of the UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant which began commercial operations in 2021.

A report by Bloomberg noted that Russia has a long history of undertaking large-scale energy projects in the North African country, often as part of a broader geopolitical strategy to counter US influence. The former Soviet Union helped build Egypt’s Aswan High Dam in the 1960s.

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