Construction of the first unit (that is, reactor) of Egypt’s El Dabaa nuclear power plant (NPP) has been licensed by the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (ENRRA), World Nuclear News has reported. The permit was issued to the country’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA). Construction of the first of the four planned reactors at the NPP, which will be only the second to be built on the African continent (after South Africa’s Koeberg NPP), can now begin.
“[W]e were granted the permit to build the first unit of the first Egyptian nuclear power plant,” highlighted NPPA board chairperson Amged El-Wakeel. “Today, we etched in gold Egypt joining the ranks of countries building [NPPs] after over 70 years waiting for this dream to come true.”
The NPPA applied for construction permits for El Dabaa unit 1 and unit 2 on June 30 last year. The applications for construction permits for unit 3 and unit 4 were submitted on December 30. The El Dabaa site is located on the country’s Mediterranean coast, some 320 km west of Cairo. The NPP will be built by Russian State-owned integrated nuclear company Rosatom, under contracts which entered into force on December 11, 2017.
“Rosatom will build a reliable state-of-the-art plant with reactors based on the Russian VVER-1200 design of the innovative Generation III+,” affirmed Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachov. “It meets the world’s highest safety standards, and successfully operates in Russia. El Dabaa will be the first [NPP] of this generation on the African continent. It will further secure the country’s regional technological leadership.”
Under the contracts between the NPPA and Rosatom, the latter group will help train the Egyptian personnel who will operate and maintain the El Dabaa NPP. Rosatom will also help with the maintenance of the NPP for the first decade of its operation. Further, the Russian group will supply El Dabba with nuclear fuel throughout the NPP’s entire life.
Rosatom will also construct a spent nuclear fuel storage facility at El Dabaa, as well as supply the containers in which the used fuel will be stored.