Russia agrees to build Egypt's first nuclear plant

20 November 2015

Egypt and Russia on 19 November signed an agreement for construction of Egypt's first nuclear power plant, with Russia extending a loan to Egypt to cover the cost of construction.

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said the plant would be built at Dabaa in the north and is expected to be completed by 2022. Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the project would involve a third-generation plant with four reactors. The loan from Russia would be paid off over 35 years. "The country and the balance sheet will not bear the cost of building this plant. It will be paid back through the actual production of electricity that will be generated by this plant," he said.

Rosatom said in October that it was in the final stages of negotiating the deal, which it expected to be completed by the end of the year. Egypt has been planning a nuclear plant at Dabaa since the 1980s but froze the plans after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. In 2006, former president Hosni Mubarak revived the plans but was then overthrown in a revolution in 2011.

Sisi, who came to power in 2014, said in February that he had signed a memorandum of understanding to go ahead with the project. "This was a long dream for Egypt, to have a peaceful nuclear program to produce electricity," Sisi said. "This dream was there for many years and today, God willing, we are taking the first step to make it happen."

Revenue from the plant will be twice its construction cost, according to Rosatom director general Sergei Kiriyenko. "This contract concerns not only the construction, but also the supply of fuel, and repairs, meaning that the total revenue will be around two times higher than the cost of construction of the nuclear power plant," he told RIA Novosti. The plant will take around 10 years to build and will be in operation for around 80 years, he said.

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