Egypt prepares to break ground on first nuclear power plant

Egypt’s president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, used his visit to the BRICS summit in China to invite Russian president Vladimir Putin to visit Egypt to attend a ground breaking ceremony for north Africa’s first nuclear power station.

According to the Kremlin’s press service, Sisi told Putin: "I would like to inform you that we have completed the formalities for approving the contract to build the nuclear power plant at al-Dabaa. We hope that you will be present together with me at the contract’s official signing. This would be a good opportunity to welcome you once more on Egyptian soil."

Putin accepted the invitation yesterday. The ceremony will mark the end of two years of talks on the project.

The al-Dabaa plant will be built by Russia’s state nuclear contractor Rosatom, and will be located about 130km northwest of Cairo. The project, which will have four 1.2GW reactors, is expected to cost $30bn. Russia has agreed to finance $25bn with a state loan repayable over 13 years at an interest rate of 3% beginning in 2029, the year the plant is expected to be complete. The Egyptians will find the remaining $5bn.

The reactors will use Rosatom’s third generation VVER-1200 design. This model was first installed in the Novovoronezh plant last year.

Egypt and Rosatom have signed two contracts covering the construction of the plant and the supply of nuclear fuel; two more, covering technical training and the reprocessing of spent fuel, will be signed before the ground breaking.

Image: Putin and Sisi met at 2017 BRICS summit in the Chinese city of Xiamen (Kremlin)

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  1. Next thing Egypt will be making a Nuclear weapon like North Korea. Why don’t countries use material such as Thorium for nuclear plants that can’t be weaponised. They are allegedly more efficient and not as damaging, but that sounds too easy. Don’t think this is a good idea based on recent events.

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