Egyptian joint venture eyes nuclear contracts

17 January 2011

As the expected launch of a tender for the construction of Egypt's first nuclear power plant approaches, two of the country's largest contractors have announced a joint venture to bid on nuclear power projects in Egypt and the Middle East. 


Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) said that its newly-created joint venture with Arab Contractors "aims to benefit from recently announced regional investment programs in the nuclear power sector."


The announcement of the joint venture came as Egypt's minister of electricity and energy, Hassan Younes, said that a tender for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Egypt is likely to be issued by the end of January.


Speaking at the fourth World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Younes said that Egypt's energy industry is currently adopting a program for the establishment of four nuclear power reactors with a combined capacity of up to 4000 MWe. He noted that a nuclear law was passed in early 2010 and moves are currently under way to set up an independent nuclear safety agency.


Younes said that tender documents relating to the construction of the first two nuclear units are now under review by the state council and the tender is expected to be launched by the end of the month. Under current plans, the first reactor is scheduled to begin operating in 2019 and the fourth to start up in 2025.


"We have received interest for the bid from companies in all parts of the world, including France, the United States, China, Russia and Japan," Younes told Reuters. He said that the winning bid will be announced by the end of July or early August 2012.


In a statement, OCI said: "The joint venture will bid on Egypt's first nuclear power plant in early February, which will be located near the north coast in Al Dabaa." It added, "Both companies have already initiated discussions with international nuclear technology providers to form a bidding consortium for this project."


Osama Bishai, managing director of OCI's construction division, commented, "Our strategic joint venture with Arab Contractors has created a leading regional consortium qualified to bid on the large flow of nuclear power plant projects expected in the near future."


In June 2009, the Egyptian government transferred a consultancy contract previously awarded to Bechtel in late 2008 to Australia's Worley Parsons. The initial phase of the contract involves site and technology selection studies for a 1200 MWe plant, followed by work relating to the plant's design, construction management, commissioning and start-up. Worley Parsons said that it expects the contract to be worth some $160 million over eight years.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News