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Egypt to sign contract with Russia on NPP construction in January — minister

December 28, 2015, 18:20 UTC+3 CAIRO
The Russian-Egyptian intergovernmental agreement on the construction in Egypt of a nuclear power plant comprising four power units with the capacity of 1,200 MW each was signed in Cairo on November 19
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© Elena Nagornykh/ITAR-TASS

CAIRO, December 28. /TASS/. The final agreement with Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation on the construction of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant in El Dabaa will be signed in January 2016, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy of Egypt Mohamed Shaker told a news conference in Cairo on Monday.

According to him, "The negotiations with the Russian side are to be completed in mid-January." "Russia, which has built 96 reactors around the world, has accumulated a wealth of experience," said the minister, "and Rosatom’s offer has been recognized the best financially and technically, as well as in terms of safety."

The Russian-Egyptian intergovernmental agreement on the construction in Egypt of a nuclear power plant comprising four power units with the capacity of 1,200 MW each was signed in Cairo on November 19. Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko and Mohamed Shaker signed the document in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The sides also then concluded an agreement on the provision of a state export credit to Cairo for its construction worth $25 billion.

The agreement, among other things, fixes the parameters of the Egyptian nuclear power plant to be built with the use of Russian technologies and outlines further steps to develop nuclear infrastructure in Egypt. It also provides for the NPP’s supply with nuclear fuel, commitments of operation, technical maintenance and repairs of the power units. The document prescribes how to handle spent nuclear fuel; train the nuclear power plant’s personnel; help Egypt to improve its rules and regulations in the nuclear power industry and nuclear infrastructure.

According to the Egyptian media’s previous reports, the credit to be issued in 2016-2018 will make it possible to finance 85% of the total cost of works to erect the nuclear power plant. The Egyptian side is supposed to provide the remaining 15% out of its own sources. As it was originally announced, the payments will not be made from the state budget. All the expenses will be recovered through real production of electric energy to be generated by the station. According to the Al Akhbar newspaper, the 12-year project is to kick off on January 4, 2016. The nuclear power station is expected to be built near the city of El Alamein on Egypt’s northern coast, 3.5 kilometres away from the Mediterranean Sea.

During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Egypt on February 10 this year, both countries signed a memorandum of understanding in nuclear power engineering, including cooperation in the construction of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant.

Egypt announced back in 2007 about the project of building three 600 MW nuclear power plants under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The first NPP worth $1.5-1.8 billion was scheduled to enter service in 2015-2016. Companies from the United States, France, Japan, South Korea and China, and also Russia’s Rosatom announced their intention at that time to participate in a tender for the construction of the NPP at El Dabaa on the Mediterranean Sea coast some 150 km west of Alexandria. However, the international tender was frustrated first by technical specifics and then by the revolutionary events of 2011-2013.

After the political situation in Egypt stabilized with the election of new President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the North African country restarted the El Dabaa project. The Egyptian government chose the end of last year as the most probable term for announcing a tender but these plans were not implemented. Now the end of 2015 is considered as the date for announcing an international tender for the El Dabaa NPP contractor. Currently, two experimental reactors are operational in Egypt. The first of them, the 2MW reactor in Anshas 60 km from Egypt, was supplied by the USSR in 1958.

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