Vladimir Minaev, director of the programme for the construction of NPPs in Egypt for Russia’s Titan-2 holding, has told Mayak newspaper that the installation of two of the four concrete plants - part of the concrete-mortar facility at Egypt’s El-Dabaa NPP - have been completed, and the target is to put the farm into operation in full by 15 November. First concrete for unit 1 was poured in July signalling the formal start of construction but significant preparatory work had already been done. The plant will comprise four units with generation III+ VVER-1200 pressurised water reactors. The NPP is being constructed by Rosatom in accordance with contracts that entered into force in December 2017.
Minaev said the 40-ton tower crane installed by Titan-2 has already been put into operation and is ready for operation. “At unit 2, Fensma has begun excavation of the pit to the design levels with the target task of starting the concrete foundation slab by 19 November. At unit 3, where Titan-2 will carry out work on the construction of nuclear island facilities, we are completing the excavation of the pit up to the +3 mark, and have already begun to develop the pit of the fourth power unit.”
He added: “We must complete work on the foundation pit of the third unit and fully ensure readiness for the start of concrete footing before the end of this year. First concrete for third unit should take place on 15 April 2023.” He said this was a very tough deadline. “ No single NPP in the world has been built at such a pace. According to the directive schedule, the interval between the commissioning of power units is only six months. The contract provides for the start of construction work - first concrete - also at intervals of six months.”
However, although the deadlines are already very tight, “we have set ourselves even more ambitious goals and will try to reduce the interval between the start of construction of each power unit from six to four months…. This is justified by the fact that at the start of the project some delays occurred, and now we need to make up for it.” He recalled that the commissioning of the first power units is scheduled for 2028 and 2029.
He said the number of Russian specialists at the site is growing exponentially. To date, the number of Titan employees is 124 people. “By the end of this year, we plan to increase the staff to 220-225 people.” The total number of Russian specialists is almost 700 people: 124 from Titan-2, about 250 from Atomstroyexport and about 100 from RosSEM and NIKIMT as well as around 200 from Fensma, the company responsible for work on impervious protection.
Minaev said things were not easy. “As with any project that is located in a remote area and in an undeveloped area, we all face domestic problems. It will take a year for everything to settle down and a normal life to begin.” However, work has started on the construction of a temporary camp for builders, designed for 20,000 people. “It will have four microdistricts, one of which will be completely given over to Russian specialists, both for line engineering and technical workers and other workers.”
As to sanctions, he said so far there was no need for import substitution and supplies were not affected. “We try to use the materials that are produced in Egypt to the maximum. There are no problems with deliveries from Russia either. There were logistical failures and issues related to the transfer of money, but these have been sorted out.”
Image: First concrete is poured for unit 1 of the El Dabaa plant (Image: NPPA)