'Egypt and Russia to sign contract for Dabaa nuclear power station very soon,' says MP

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 15 Apr 2017

Salaam's statement came after a delegation of 16 Egyptian MPs visited a giant nuclear power reactor in Russia last week.

File photo: Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a meeting in Cairo February 10, 2015 Reuters

Alaa Salaam, the secretary-general of the Egyptian parliament's Environment and Energy Committee, said in a statement on Saturday that Egypt and Russia are close to signing the final contract on the construction of Dabaa nuclear power plant northwest of Cairo.

"I can't give a specific date as to when this contract will be signed, but I hope it will be signed this summer," said Salaam.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi oversaw the initial agreement that was signed by Egypt and Russia over the nuclear power plant in November 2015.

Salaam's statement came after an Egyptian delegation of 16 MPs, headed by the chairman of parliament's Environment and Energy Committee Talaat El-Sewedi, visited Russia last week.

Salaam said the four-day visit came upon the invitation of Russia's state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom, which is due to construct Egypt's first nuclear power station at Dabaa, 130km northwest of Cairo.

According to Salaam's statement, the Egyptian delegation visited a nuclear power plant at the northern Russian city of Saint Petersburg.

"The visit showed that although this [Russian] plant is 60 years old, it is still operating at 100 percent capacity and with the highest level of safety," said Salaam, adding that the plant is completely automated to guarantee the highest level of risk-free operation. 

"The Egyptian delegation also made sure that the reactor is an environment-friendly plant that does not produce any pollutants," said Salaam.

Salaam said the parliamentary delegation's visits to a number of nuclear power reactors in Russia involved inspections to see how all ‎safety standards are ‎observed to guarantee hazard-free operations at these stations.

Salaam said Egypt chose Russia's Rosatom ‎energy giant due to the company's extensive ‎experience in undertaking a large number ‎of nuclear power projects in various countries.

"We also chose ‎Rosatom because of the good financial ‎terms of the contracts with this company," ‎said Salaam.

Salaam said Egypt's Dabaa reactor will be able to withstand earthquakes up to 9 degree on a Richter scale, and the crash of a 400-tonne aeroplane.

Salaam added that Dabaa is an ideal place for Egypt's first nuclear power plant because it is "far from any earthquake-active regions, not to mention that it is also far from densely populated places in Egypt."

Salaam said the plant will create over 50,000 job opportunities.

"This reactor, which will be composed of four nuclear power units with an electric generation capacity of 4,800 megawatts, will be built over a period of eight years," said Salaam.

"In addition to the fact that the Dabaa reactor will give Egypt a clean source of energy, it will also help the country obtain the nuclear technology necessary for Egypt become a pioneer in this field in the long-run."

Salaam added that the nuclear waste generated by the plant will be handled by an international company that is an expert in this field. 

"Nuclear power reactors like the one in El-Dabaa do not emit any gas pollutants or cause any greenhouse effect," said Salaam.

"After this visit to Russia, let me say that on behalf of my colleagues, I want to send a message to the Egyptian people – that the building of the Dabaa nuclear reactor at the hands of the Russian Rosatom company will be a very progressive step for Egypt in the area of nuclear technology and electricity generation," said Salaam.

El-Sayed Hegazy, another MP and a member of the delegation, said two weeks ago that the contract on Rosatom's construction of Egypt's first nuclear power plant could be signed in May.

"So far, it seems like the signing of the contracts on the Dabba Nuclear Power Plant will take place in May," Hegazy said, adding that "it is necessary for Egypt to switch to nuclear power and other renewable energy sources which are friendly to the environment and help overcome any electricity shortage."

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