Amjad Al-Wakeel Chairman of Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) said on 15 August in an interview with Energy World that a permit is expected to be issued for construction of the Dabaa nuclear power plant site in the second half of 2021. A site selection approval permit was issued in March 2019 by the Nuclear and Radiation Supervision Authority.  

Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, with a capacity of 4800MWe, will be built in the city of Dabaa, about 130km northwest of Cairo. The plant, with four VVER-1200 generation 3+ reactors,  will be built by Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom  at a cost of more than $25 billion. It is expected that 85% of the project cost will be financed through a Russian loan that Egypt will start repaying in October 2029 through semi-annual instalments over 22 years at an interest rate of 3%. Egypt’s government will cover the rest of the cost, whether from the public treasury or through local banks.

Al-Wakeel said he expected a maritime berth dedicated to accepting heavy equipment for the power plant would be ready in 21 months.

He noted that the Dabaa project was in two phases – the first four units to be followed later by four more. He confirmed that an international information centre would be established in El-Dabaa and that site selection was underway. In addition, Rosatom’s Atomstroyexport would be building a training centre.

As to the coronavirus pandemic, Al-Wakeel acknowledged that this had caused some delays but said this should not impact the overall timeline of the construction project. “No one can deny that the coronavirus has affected the project as it is a global pandemic and a force majeure that cannot be avoided, but we were able to reduce its negative effects as much as possible,” he said. He noted that 150 Russian experts chose to remain at the site despite the pandemic.