Egypt receives nuclear safety consultancy bids

26 August 2009

Egypt is considering six bids from international firms to provide support and advice on setting up the country's nuclear safety regulatory framework.


Hassan Younis, minister of energy and electricity, said that bids were received from undisclosed Canadian, French, German, South Korean, UK and US and companies. The six were shortlisted from a total of 17 gathered after a request put out in April last year.


The selected consultant will be responsible for training workers in nuclear safety issues, including the use of safety codes used in the assessment and monitoring of nuclear power plants. The training will also cover the preparation and implementation of quality management systems and the preparation of regulations. The move is intended to enable a nuclear regulatory body, up to international standards, to be created in Egypt prior to the construction of the country's first nuclear power plant.


In December 2008, the Energy and Electricity Ministry announced that it had decided to award a $180 million contract to Bechtel to choose the reactor technology, select the site for the plant, organise training and provide technical services over some ten years. However, the government later transferred this contract to Australia-based engineering consultants Worley Parsons.


Worley Parsons then announced in June a contract with the Egyptian Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPPA) for a proposed 1200 MWe plant. The initial phase of the contract will involve site and technology selection studies followed by work relating to the plant's design, construction management, commissioning and start-up. The contract was expected to be worth some $160 million over eight years.


Back in 1983 the El-Dabaa site on the Mediterranean coast was selected for a nuclear plant but this scheme was scrapped after the Chernobyl accident. In 2006, the same site was named in plans to build a 1000 MWe reactor for electricity generation and water desalination by 2015, in a $1.5-$2 billion project that would be open to foreign participation.


Last week, Younis told a meeting of the industry and energy committee of the Shura Council (the upper house of the Egyptian parliament) that Worley Parsons was progressing with site selection studies, although El-Dabaa remained the preferred site.