Construction starts of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant 

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A ceremony was held earlier this month to mark the start of construction in Egypt’s first nuclear power plant (NPP) at El Dabaa where the “first concrete” was poured at the NPP site.  

Present on the occasion were the Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker, Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev, Governor of Matrouh, Major-General Khaled Shoeib, Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (ENRRA) Chairman Dr. Samy Shaaban Attallah, Rosatom subsidiary ASE’s Senior Vice President Alexander Korchagin, and General Supervisor of the El-Dabaa NPP Project, Grigory Sosnin, who were all awarded honorary plaques by the Egyptian Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPPA) Board Chairman Dr. Amged El-Wakeel. 

Egypt and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement in 2015 under which Rosatom will help build and part-finance the first Egyptian NPP to be owned by the NPPA.   

According to Rosatom, members of the joint Russian-Egyptian project team were awarded with commemorative medals at the event to pour the first concrete for unit 1 of the El Dabaa NPP.  

“The commencement of full-scale construction of unit 1 is a historic event for Egypt. The political leadership and the Egyptian-Russian cooperation contributed to the implementation of this ambitious project despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, which did not have a negative impact on the project”, Electricity and Renewable Energy Minister, Mohamed Shaker, said at the event.  

“Construction of the nuclear power plant will allow Egypt to reach a new level of technology, industry and education development. The plant will be the largest project of the Russian-Egyptian cooperation since the Aswan High Dam. Having its own nuclear energy industry has been a dream for the Egyptian people for more than half-a-century, and it is a great honor for Rosatom to make this dream come true,” Likhachev said in his address at the event. 

The El Dabaa NPP, to be located 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.   

Earlier, Egyptian nuclear regulator ENRRA issued a permit for the construction of El Dabaa unit 1 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.