'Notice to proceed' contracts signed for El Dabaa

11 December 2017

Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachov and Egypt's Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker today signed notices to proceed with contracts for the construction of four VVER-1200 units at the El Dabaa nuclear power plant.

Presidents Putin and El Sisi pictured in Cairo today (Image: Kremlin)

The contracts, signed in the presence of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi of Egypt and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, follow a November 2015 intergovernmental agreement, which included the provision of a Russian state-backed loan of $25 billion for the $30 billion project. The Russian loan will cover about 85% of the plant's construction costs, with Egypt to raise the remainder from private investors.

According to the contracts signed today, Rosatom will build four VVER-1200 reactors at El Dabaa, in the Matrouh region on the Mediterranean coast, and supply nuclear fuel throughout the plant's entire lifetime. Rosatom will also train personnel and will assist its Egyptian partners in operation and maintenance during the first ten years of the plant's operations. The contract also includes the construction of a purpose-build storage facility and the supply of containers for the storage of used nuclear fuel.

The first unit is to be commissioned in 2026, Rosatom said.

Likhachov said the contracts were "a record-breaking deal in the history of the nuclear industry", with the cost of all four contracts amounting to billions of US dollars, as well as being the biggest non-feedstock deal in Russian history. "We offered our partners in Egypt a unique comprehensive agreement that spans the power plant's entire life cycle, i.e. 70 to 80 years. Today Rosatom is the only company in the world that is capable of providing the full range of peaceful nuclear services. The development of Egypt's nuclear power industry is also important to Russia's economy as dozens of Rosatom enterprises will be awarded significant contracts and will have an opportunity to showcase to the global community the advantage of Russian nuclear technologies," he said.

Rosatom will also help Egypt to develop its nuclear infrastructure, as well as increasing the level of localisation and supporting Egypt in training its nuclear personnel training and working on public acceptance of nuclear energy. Future nuclear employees will be trained both in Russia and Egypt, with hundreds of Egyptian students to study nuclear disciplines in Russia over the next few years, Rosatom said.

"Several dozen" Egyptian companies will be involved in the construction project, and the first unit is expected to have a localisation level of at least 20%. Subsequent units will be "even more localised".

The VVER-1200 is described by Rosatom as a generation 3+ plant that is fully compliant with all post-Fukushima International Atomic Energy Agency requirements. Russia's first VVER-1200, unit 1 of the Novovoronezh II plant, entered commercial operation earlier this year. El Dabaa will reference unit 1 of the Leningrad Phase II nuclear power plant in western Russia, where fuel loading began on 8 December. Construction work recently began on a VVER-1200 at Rooppur in Bangladesh.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News