The government succeeded in realising the Egyptian dream of producing nuclear energy after a delay of 60 years since late president Gamal Abdel Nasser first spoke of it.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was able to fulfil Abdel Nasser’s promise to citizens and signed the final contract for the first civilian nuclear power plant to produce electricity with Russia.
Egypt will enter 2016 with economic solutions for the provision of sustainable electricity through the nuclear plant, along with other projects to generate solar and wind power.
Egypt and Russia signed the final agreement to implement a nuclear power plant in September. The project is will be established in El-Dabaa with a capacity 4,800 MW. The Russian state company Rosatom, will begin the project early 2016.
Al-Sisi said the station will use third-generation technology and will include four nuclear reactors. The cost will be paid over 35 years, without burdening the state budget. Egyptian companies will also partake in the project and provide at least 20% domestic components.
According to Al-Sisi, the selection of Russia to build the station came after considering a number of offers from different companies. Egypt is committed to the Convention on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and the reactors will only be used to generate electricity, Al-Sisi said.
The Egyptian government’s hopes to generate nuclear electricity resurfaced in the 1980s. However, all plans were halted after the Chernobyl crisis in Ukraine. In 2006, discussions of the nuclear programme re-emerged but the plans never went public due to several challenges. Plans were then halted due to the turmoil in Egypt over the past four years.
The Ministry of Electricity and Rosatom signed a preliminary agreement to establish the nuclear power plant on 10 February during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Cairo. The final agreement was later signed in November in Al-Sisi’s presence.
Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker said the government will finalise all technical, financial, and technological agreements for the station with Rosatom in January.
The agreement includes building nuclear fuel storage facilities to supply the nuclear plant with the required nuclear fuel along the 60-year operational period, Shaker said. Rosatom will also manage nuclear waste, maintenance and operation, and training Egyptian experts.
The stations will be completely safe, especially since Rosatom will provide them with the VVER-1200 safety protocols to protect against internal and external factors and influences.
Shaker said the prices offered to Egypt were unprecedented with the same technologies. “Nuclear power is clean and will not emit any pollution gasses or cause global warming,” he said.
Shaker said the station will greatly impact the economy, and will be safeguarded against the effects of hurricanes, sand-laden dust storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, or tsunamis.
Rosatom announced a few days ago that it will finalise all negotiations to build four nuclear plants in Egypt at a total cost of $26bn in January.