Egypt and Russia lay foundation for third reactor at El-Dabaa nuclear power plant

Gamal Essam El-Din , Thursday 4 May 2023

El-Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) project reached another milestone as the foundations for the third nuclear reactor at the under-construction plant were laid on Wednesday.

Egypt and Russia
Egyptian and Russian officials inaugurated the construction of the Dabaa's third nuclear reactor on Wednesday. Photo : NPPA


This marked another significant step in the collaboration between Egypt's Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) and Russia's state-run nuclear engineering corporation Rosatom to build the country's first-ever nuclear power plant, which is designed to generate energy for peaceful purposes.

"The move comes after the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (ENRR) granted its construction permit in March 2023," said chairman of NPPA's Amgad El-Wakeel in a celebration on Wednesday. 

El-wakeel added that the laying the first concrete works into the foundation of El-Dabaa's third nuclear reactor also comes just days after the House of Representatives approved the cabinet-drafted amendments to the 1976 law regulating the performance of the NPPA.

"This legislation would provide tax breaks to Egyptian and foreign contractors alike as part of Egypt's efforts at speeding up the construction of the 4.8-GW NPP at El-Dabaa, located 320 kilometres west of Alexandria," explained El-Wakeel.

The NPP is set to include four nuclear reactors with a capacity of 1.2 GW each.

"This past year has witnessed the achievement of many key project milestones including the first concrete pouring for reactors 1 and 2 and the delivery of the core catcher for unit 1," El-Wakeel was cited by the Russia's news agency TASS as saying. 

According to the Egyptian official '"the project is progressing according to the agreed time schedules and the two sides – Egypt's NPPA and Russia's Rosatom – are certain that further outstanding achievements will take place with a view of successfully delivering the country's first nuclear power plant."

El-Wakeel added that "the NPPA and Rosatom are planning to lay the concrete works for the foundation of the fourth – and last – nuclear reactor at El-Dabaa before the end of this year."

"The NPPA has applied for construction license for the fourth reactor in January 2022; and once we secure it from ENRR we will be ready to lay the concrete works, which I expect will take place next October or November," explained El-Wakeel.

NPPA and Rosatom began building the first nuclear reactor last July and the second reactor in November.

Alexander Korchagin, Senior Vice President for NPP Construction Project Management at Rosatom's ASE, said in a statement following the celebration that "the start of construction of the third nuclear reactor of the El-Dabaa NPP indicates that the project is gaining momentum." 

"Last year, work was launched at the first and second power units. Today we are taking another important step," said Korchagin.

"For JSC ASE, the construction of power units under the VVER-1200 project is already a familiar and well-established process, which allows us to fine-tune the process of manufacturing equipment and form the backbone of construction personnel," he explained.

Korchagin added that the El-Dabaa NPP construction project "has its own individual characteristics - and I thank our Egyptian partners for well-coordinated joint work. Together we will achieve success in the implementation of this grandiose project."

Most advanced technology

The total cost of El-Dabaa NPP project is estimated at $30 billion.

Egypt expects that the NPP,  which is being built in the city of El-Dabaa in the Governorate of Matrouh, will operate at full capacity by 2030.

In 2015, Russia signed an agreement with Egypt to provide Egypt with a state export loan of $25 billion for the construction of the NPP, which will cover 85 percent of the cost of construction work.

The remaining expenses are to be covered by the Egyptian side through attracting private investors.

Under the agreement, Egypt is to start payments on the loan at a rate of 3 percent per annum in October 2029.

The plant will comprise the most advanced technology to date, which has been successfully implemented and operated in Russia and abroad, according to Rosatom.

The NPP project in Egypt will be Rosatom’s first major project in Africa.

Short link: