Egypt completes IAEA nuclear power infrastructure mission

11 November 2019

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts has concluded an 11-day Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) for Egypt. The mission, which was completed on 6 November, was conducted at the invitation of the Egyptian government.

The IAEA has completed an infrastructure review for Egypt's nuclear power programme (Image: NPPA)

Egypt plans to construct its first nuclear power plant at El Dabaa and the INIR mission was hosted by the Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA), which is to be the owner-operator of the plant.

The INIR team reviewed the status of nuclear infrastructure development using Phase 2 criteria of the IAEA's Milestones Approach. The end of Phase 2 marks the readiness of a country to invite bids and negotiate contracts for a nuclear power programme, NPPA said in a statement coordinated with the IAEA.

Jose Bastos, the technical lead of the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section, said the mission had been conducted “in a cooperative and open atmosphere”, adding that Egypt is well-placed for the construction phase of its first nuclear power plant.

The INIR team noted that Egypt has established comprehensive national legislation, signed an inter-governmental agreement and made contractual arrangements for the construction and operation of its first nuclear power plant. NPPA and the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (ENRRA) have been established and have the services of technical and other consultants to support the development of the infrastructure, including capacity building.

The team comprised experts from Algeria, Brazil, Spain and the UK, as well as IAEA staff. It reviewed the status of the 19 nuclear power programme infrastructure issues using the IAEA Nuclear Energy Series ‘Evaluation of the status of national nuclear infrastructure development’.

Prior to the mission, Egypt submitted a self-evaluation report covering all infrastructure issues as well as supporting documents to the IAEA.

Amged El-Wakeel, NPPA board chairman and director general of the Egyptian nuclear power plant project, said: “We are pleased that the IAEA’s assessment of the status of our programme accords with our self-assessment. Through the INIR Mission, I believe we have established a new benchmark for our ongoing and future cooperation with the IAEA as we deliver the El Dabaa NPP Project and bring the benefits of nuclear energy to Egypt’s almost 100 million people.”

The IAEA Milestones Approach has 19 Infrastructure Issues, three Phases and three Milestones. The results of the INIR mission are expected to help the IAEA Member State develop an action plan to fill any gaps, which in turn will help the development of the national nuclear infrastructure.

NPPA received a site approval permit for the El Dabaa site from the ENRRA in March. The permit acknowledges that the site and its specific conditions comply with national and international requirements.

Four Russian-designed VVER-1200 pressurised water reactors are planned for El Dabaa, which is on the Mediterranean coast, 170 kilometres west of Alexandria and Zafraana on the Gulf of Suez. Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom is to build the plant,  which will have a nameplate capacity of 4800 MWe and account for up to 10% of Egypt’s power generation capacity.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News