TVEL inks contract to supply nuclear fuel components for Egypt’s second research reactor 

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Among the various agreements signed at the Atomexpo-2022 in Sochi, Russia, during November 21-22, was one between the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom’s fuel arm TVEL and the Egyptian Atomic Energy Agency (EAEA) for supplies of low-enriched fuel components to Egypt. 

A Rosatom release said the agreement signed between TVEL subsidiary Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant and the EAEA is a follow-up to the earlier long-term contract for supply of nuclear fuel components for the ETRR-2 reactor in Egypt.  

“The product range includes uranium components as well as products made of aluminum alloy and aluminum powder. The shipment will be provided in 2023. Also, by the end of 2022, another batch will be supplied to Egypt in compliance with the previously signed contractual documents”, the statement said. 

ETRR-2, or the Experimental Training Research Reactor Number two, is a research reactor supplied by the Argentine company Investigacion Aplicada (INVAP) in 1992. The reactor is owned and operated by the EAEA at the Nuclear Research Center in Inshas. It is used for research in particle physics and material studies, as well as for production of radioisotopes. 

“The prospects of TVEL’s business development in Egypt also embrace supply of nuclear fuel to all four power units of the 4800 MWe El Dabaa nuclear power plant for the entire operation period. The fuel contract came into force in 2017”, the statement added.  

Construction started earlier this year of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant (NPP) at El Dabaa, being built with the assistance of 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 Egyptian Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPPA). 

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.    

The Egyptian nuclear regulator ENRRA issued a permit for the construction of the 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.