Egyptian MPs head to Russia for nuclear-power talks, tour of stations

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 4 Apr 2017

Members of parliamentary energy committee will meet with Rosatom officials to pave way for signing of El-Dabaa deal in May or June

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."‎

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