Construction permit issued for first Egyptian unit

30 June 2022

The Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (ENRRA) has issued a construction licence to the Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) for unit 1 of the planned four-unit El Dabaa nuclear power plant.

The El Dabaa site on Egypt's Mediterranean coast (Image: NPPA)

NPPA submitted its application to ENRRA for construction permits for units 1 and 2 of the El Dabaa plant on 30 June last year. On 30 December, it submitted its application for construction licences for units 3 and 4.

ENRRA has now issued a permit for construction of unit 1 to fully begin.

"Today, we were granted the permit to build the first unit of the first Egyptian nuclear power plant," Amged El-Wakeel, board chairman of NPPA, said. "Today, we etched in gold Egypt joining the ranks of countries building nuclear power plants after over 70 years waiting for this dream to come true."

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom - which will construct the El Dabaa plant - said this permit, along with excavation works at site, is a prerequisite for the start of the main stage of construction.

"Obtaining the construction permit for unit 1 is a momentous occasion paving the way for the launch of full-scale construction of the first nuclear power plant in Egypt," said Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachov. "Rosatom will build a reliable state-of-the-art plant with reactors based on the Russian VVER-1200 design of the innovative Generation III+. It meets the world's highest safety standards, and successfully operates in Russia. El Dabaa will be the first nuclear power plant of this generation on the African continent. It will further secure the country's regional technological leadership."

Alexander Korchagin, Senior Vice President for NPP Construction Project Management at Rosatom Engineering Division, added: "Pouring the 'first concrete' at unit 1 is up next, signifying the beginning of the active stage of the project's construction works."

On Egypt's Mediterranean coast, the El Dabaa site is 320 kilometres west of Cairo. The plant will comprise four VVER-1200 units, like those already in operation at the Leningrad and Novovoronezh nuclear power plants in Russia, and the Ostrovets nuclear power plant in Belarus.

The El Dabaa nuclear power plant project is based on contracts that entered into force on 11 December 2017. These stipulate that Rosatom will not only build the plant, but will also supply Russian nuclear fuel for its entire life cycle. They will also assist Egyptian partners in training personnel and plant maintenance for the first 10 years of its operation. Rosatom is also contracted to build a special storage facility and supply containers for storing used nuclear fuel.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News