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Egypt / Regulator Gives Go-Ahead For Construction Of Fourth Nuclear Plant At El-Dabaa

By David Dalton
31 August 2023

Russia is supplying its Generation III+ reactor technology for the project

Regulator Gives Go-Ahead For Construction Of Fourth Nuclear Plant At El-Dabaa
File photo of construction at the El-Dabaa nuclear power station in northern Egypt.

The Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (ENRRA) has granted permission for construction of the fourth and final unit of the El-Dabaa nuclear power station west of Alexandria in northern Egypt.

“The safety of the fourth unit of the El-Dabaa nuclear power generation plant was verified, and no risks were proven to threaten humans, the environment and properties,” ENRRA said in a statement.

Russia is supplying four Generation III+ VVER-1200 pressurised water reactors for El-Dabaa, with the first unit expected to be online in 2026. An initial agreement for the project – the first commercial nuclear station in the country – was signed in 2015.

In May, the main construction phase began for Unit 3 at El-Dabaa with the pouring of first concrete.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, construction of Unit 1 began in July 2022 and of Unit 2 in November 2022.

The project is said to be costing $28.7bn (€26.4bn) of which Russia will finance 85% as a state loan of $25bn and Egypt will provide the remaining 15% in the form of instalments. Press reports have said the Russian loan has a repayment period of 22 years, with an annual interest rate of 3%.

Rosatom said that according to the project contract, Russia will deliver nuclear fuel for the station’s entire lifecycle, provide assistance in personnel training, and provide support operation and servicing for the first 10 years of operation. Russia will also build a storage facility and deliver casks for storing spent nuclear fuel from the four reactors.

Egypt’s lower house of parliament earlier this year approved legislation that aims to speed up the project by offering tax exemptions to “all parties” involved in construction and operation.

The legislation amends 1976 laws related to the operation of the Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA), which was set up in 1976 to establish, operate and manage nuclear power plants in Egypt.

The amended legislation gives the NPPA greater powers and flexibility to “remove all obstacles” standing in the way of implementing the El-Dabaa project, according to press reports in Cairo.

A computer-generated image of the completed El-Dabaa nuclear power station.

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