Companies from various countries take part in construction of Egypt’s first nuclear plant

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In a significant instance of cooperation involving multiple countries, Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom has signed a contract with the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company Ltd (KHNP) for the construction of turbine islands for Egypt’s first nuclear power plant (NPP) coming up at El-Dabaa. 

The El Dabaa NPP, being constructed on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast about 130 km northwest of the capital, Cairo, will have four Russian-designed VVER-1200 pressurised water reactors of 1,200 MW capacity each, making Egypt the only country in the region to have a state-of-the-art Generation III+ reactor. 

As per the contract signed by Rosatom’s engineering arm  Atomstroyexport and KHNP, the Korean company will construct some 80 buildings and structures at four units of the power plant and will procure and supply equipment and materials for the turbine islands. 

“The contract with Atomstroyexport JSC for the construction of the turbine islands can be seen as a significant achievement for Korea confirming our great capabilities for project construction and management that have already been demonstrated in the UAE. Building upon our experience acquired in the UAE, KHNP will do its best for the successful implementation of the El-Dabaa NPP project,” KHNP Chief Executive Jooho Whang said in a statement.  

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has chosen the South Korean-designed APR-1400 reactors for its first NPP located at Barakah. The Barakah second unit was connected to the grid in March 2022 and the two units are now supplying a combined power of 2,800 MW to the UAE grid. Four reactors are planned to be installed at the Barakah plant. 

“Upon the results of the consultations held in December 2021, Rosatom approved KHNP as a sole bidder that was admitted to the discussions and conclusion of the contract for the planned deal, provided KHNP complied with the ASE JSC procurement requirements and the parties reaching agreement on such terms and conditions”, a Rosatom statement said.  

“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. 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 benefiting our countries”, Rosatom’s Director for International Business, Boris Arseev, said at the signing ceremony. 

“The El-Dabaa NPP is an attractive project for international companies. KHNP is joining a pool of qualified participants, among which are major Egyptian companies selected for construction works at the site”, said Atomstroyexport Senior Vice President Alexander Korchagin. 

Construction at El Dabaa NPP started last month with the pouring of the “first concrete” at the NPP site. The Egyptian nuclear regulator ENRRA issued a permit for the construction of the first unit on June 29, 2022.  

Although the Egyptian nuclear power program was started in 1954, and its first research reactor ETRR-1 was acquired from the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1958, it is only now that work has started on building the country’s first nuclear power plant.  

The El-Dabaa NPP is being constructed under a package of contracts which came into force in December 2017. As per the contract, Rosatom will not only construct the NPP but will also supply nuclear fuel for its whole life cycle, as well as provide assistance to the Egyptian partners in the training of personnel and in support of operations and service during the first 10 years of its operation. Under a separate agreement, Rosatom will build a special storage and will supply containers for storing spent nuclear fuel.