Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stands as Russian - Egyptian officials sings the first Egyptian nuclear plant deal (Photo: Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi official Facebook page)
A delegation of 15 Egyptian MPs flew to Moscow on Monday for talks with Russia's state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom, which is due to construct Egypt's first nuclear power station at El-Dabaa, 130 northwest of Cairo.
The delegation from parliament's industry and energy committee, headed by committee chair Talaat El-Sewedy, will spend four days in Russia at the invitation of Rosatom, paving the way for the final signing of El-Dabaa contract in early summer.
According to Alaa Salem, the committee's secretary-general, "The visit is very necessary because it comes ahead of the expected signing of final contracts on the construction of El-Dabaa in May or June," said Salem.
Salem said the MPs will pay field visits to a number of nuclear power stations in Russia, some of them under construction and others already built by Rosatom.
"We will review these stations and see how all requirements of safety benchmarks were observed to guarantee the highest level of hazard-free operation at these stations," said Salem.
Salem said Egypt chose Russia's Rosatom energy giant due to the company's great experience in implementing a large number of international nuclear power projects in various countries.
"We also chose Rosatom because of the good financial terms of the contracts with this company," said Salem.
Egypt's Minister of Electricity and Energy Mohamed Shaker announced in February that Russia will provide Egypt with a state loan worth $25 billion for the financing of the construction and operation of the El-Dabaa project, with a repayment period of 13 years.
El-Sayed Hegazi El-Baz, another member of the Egyptian parliamentary delegation to Russia, told the Russian news agency Sputnik that he expects the Dabaa project contract to be signed in May.
"So far, it seems like the signing of the contracts on the Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant will take place in May," El-Baz said, adding that "the visit to Russia is necessary to ensure that the implementation of the project begins as soon as possible."
According to El-Baz, Egypt's switch to nuclear energy was motivated by the country's need for non-traditional sources of energy.
"It is necessary to switch to nuclear power and other renewable sources of energy to both protect the environment and overcome any future electricity shortage," El-Baz said.
According to Baz, the delegation will also meet Russian parliamentarians to discuss issues of bilateral cooperation.
Russia and Egypt signed an intergovernmental agreement on the construction of the El-Dabaa plant in November 2015. It will consist of four nuclear power units, 1,200 megawatts (MW) each. Rosatom is scheduled to build El-Dabaa plant within 12 years.
In March, Egyptian media reports cited an official as saying that the signing of the contract could take place in June.
An official with the electricity ministry said, "The final stage of discussion on the final contracts with Rosatom are still being revised by the State Council to resolve issues related to El-Dabaa's commissioning and subsequent servicing."