Construction starts of unit 3 at first nuclear power plant in Egypt 

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The first concrete has been poured for unit 3 of the first nuclear power plant (NPP) in Egypt being built at El Dabaa. The pouring of the concrete at a ceremony last week marked the start of construction for the third unit of the El Dabaa plant, according to a statement by the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom.  

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 Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPPA).   

Rosatom said the first concrete pouring ceremony follows the issue of the construction permit for unit 3 by the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority on March 29, 2023.  

In his address at the ceremony, the NPPA Board Chairman Dr. Amged El-Wakeel said: “This past year has witnessed the achievement of many key project milestones, including the first concrete pouring for units 1 and 2 and the delivery of the core catcher for unit 1. The project is progressing in accordance with the agreed time schedules and we are here to witness the first concrete pouring for unit 3 and the dedication of the teams who worked towards this common goal.” 

The El Dabaa NPP site, 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.  

The nuclear power plant will be the largest project of Russo-Egyptian cooperation since the Aswan Dam. Egypt has aspired to have its own nuclear energy industry for more than half-a-century.   

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 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.