Egypt’s Minister of Electricity and Energy Mohamed Shaker and Matrouh Governor Alaa Abu Zeid on 25 February attended a ceremony launching a public consultation on the environmental impact of building Egypt’s first nuclear station at El-Dabaa near El Alamein, 3.5km from the Mediterranean coast. Egypt and Russia are expected to sign the final contracts for construction of the plant within the coming weeks. Following two weeks of intensive discussions between an Egyptian governmental committee and officials from Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, the final form of the contracts have reportedly been agreed and include operational support of the plant for 10 years and fuel supply for 60 years.
Russia and Egypt signed an inter-governmental agreement on the project in November 2015. The $30bn plant will comprise four 1200MWe Russian VVERs for which Russia is granting a $25bn loan. The loan will be used to finance 85% of the value of each contract to implement works, services, and shipments of the project. Egypt will pay the remaining 15% in instalments. The term of the loan is 13 years over the period from 2016 until 2028, with a 3% annual interest rate. Construction is expected to take 12 years.
Egyptian political thinker and international petroleum strategist Professor Tarek Heggy stressed the importance of the project in an interview with Tass on 22 February: "Egypt will face an energy catastrophe if the country abandons building the NPP," he said. National authorities "overstate their reserves and sufficiency of such resources as oil and gas," he noted. "Egypt is at a very low level in terms of oil reserves and at an average level in terms of gas reserves."