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Russia pours concrete for second reactor at Egypt’s El-Dabaa nuclear plant

Presidents Putin and el-Sisi meeting in 2017 (Kremlin)
Russian nuclear engineer Rosatom poured the first concrete on Saturday (19 November) for the second reactor at Egypt’s El-Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant, the country’s first.

Egypt’s energy minister Mohamed Shaker and Alexey Likhachov, director-general of Rosatom, attended the ceremony.

The facility under construction in El-Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast some 300 km northwest of Cairo will have four generation-III+ VVER-1200 pressurised water reactors with a total generating capacity of 4.8GW when complete.

The $30bn cost of the scheme is being financed through a $25bn loan from Russia, with the remainder to come from the Egyptian government. Egypt will start repayments in 2029 at an interest rate of 3%.

“We are keen that the construction works go according to schedule and without any delays,” Minister Shaker said.

“I would like to state that the Egyptian–Russian team that is in charge of implementing the Dabaa project has shown the highest levels of professionalism and so it is expected that we finalise this project long ahead of schedule.”

Likhachov added: “The launch of construction at El-Dabaa means that Egypt has already joined the nuclear club. This is the largest example of Russian-Egyptian cooperation since the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s.”

“Let me also emphasise that the El-Dabaa project is set to have an important impact on Egypt’s social and economic life and will also help Egypt gradually move to low-carbon sources of energy and pave the way for sustainable development in the future.”

If all goes according to plan, the first of the plant’s reactors will enter into service in 2028, making it North Africa’s first nuclear power plant.

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