Rosatom Signs Deals To Build First Nuclear Power Plant In Egypt

Government officials from Egypt and counterparts at Russian nuclear plant construction giant Rosatom hailed the signing of  financing and construction deals that call for four third-generation nuclear reactors to be built within the next 12 years near the seaside city of Dabaa, Egypt.

Agreements were signed by representatives from state-owned Rosatom and from Egypt Electricity that involve $17 billion in loans to Egypt that are expected to cover 85 percent of the cost of the project, which will be paid back over 35 years with revenue from the nuclear plant. The four reactors will each have a capacity of 1200 MW.

Egypt's Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker said nuclear power has long been a “dream” in Egypt, which had plans to build one in the 1980s that were cancelled after the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl. He also said nuclear power was the cheapest power source available and that Rosatom had the winning bid out of proposals received from seven countries.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also weighed in on the deal, calling it significant proof of the endurance of relations between the two countries. “It is the most important document fixing parameters of the first Egyptian nuclear power plant that will be built in compliance with Russian technologies,” he said.

The deal covers construction, maintenance, training Egyptian personnel, fuel supply and servicing. A deal was also signed by the Russian Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Supervision and Egyptian regulators.

Sisi and others, however, noted the deal had political significance, given the signing occurred just three weeks after a bomb exploded on a Russian plane over the Sinai Peninsula after takeoff from Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport. All 224 persons on board were killed in Russia's worst-ever airline disaster.

According to media reports, the deals were expected to be signed in December, but they were pushed forward due to the crash.

Sisi said the deal “was a manifestation of the strong relations between Cairo and Moscow as well as the full understanding between the Egyptian and the Russian people.”

"The nuclear power plant project in Dabaa will become the largest joint project between Russia and Egypt since Aswan dam project; this is sincerely new page in history of Russian-Egyptian intergovernmental relations,” said Rosatom Chief Executive Officer Sergey Kiriyenko.

"First nuclear power plant will make Egypt regional technological leader and the region's only country with NPP 3 plus generation technology,” Kiriyenko said.

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