Project profile: El Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant, Egypt
The 4.8GW El Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant will be built in four phases in El Dabaa, northwest of Cairo, Egypt. The project, which is expected to cost $30bn, forms part of Egypt’s plan to diversity from oil and gas and will meet the country’s growing demand for electricity
Nuclear power plant
El Dabaa, Matrouh Governorate, Egypt
Nuclear Power Plant Authority of Egypt
El Dabaa will be Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, and is planned for construction in Matrouh Governorate on the Mediterranean coast, 250km west of Alexandria. Construction on the plant is expected to start in 2020, with commissioning expected to begin in 2026.
Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) will develop the proposed El Dabaa nuclear power plant, which will be owned and operated by the Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPPA) of Egypt.
With a nameplate capacity of 4.8GW, the plant is expected to account for up to 50% of Egypt’s power generation capacity to meet the country’s increasing demand for electricity. It is expected to boost the country’s economy and industrial development by creating up to 50,000 jobs.
El Dabaa nuclear power project background
The El Dabaa nuclear power project is part of Egypt’s nuclear programme, which began in 1954. The El Dabaa site was selected for the plant in 1983 and the decision for the construction of the plant was announced in October 2007.
The site was approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in August 2010, but the development was halted due to the 2011 Egyptian revolution and disputes with Dabaa locals.
The Government of Egypt signed two contracts with the Russian Government for the construction and financing of the El Dabaa NPP in November 2015.
The first stage of preliminary engineering survey was conducted in 2016, while the hydrographic and hydrological survey work was carried in 2017.
El Dabaa nuclear power plant location and make-up
The El Dabaa nuclear power plant site is in close proximity to rail, road and transmission interconnections. It has low regional seismic activity and sufficient cooling water supply.
The plant will consist of four VVER-1200 nuclear reactors, which are capable of producing 1.2GW each. The first unit is expected to begin commercial operations in 2026, while commissioning of the remaining three reactors is scheduled for 2028.
The VVER-1200 reactor is a third-generation pressurised water reactor that is fully compliant with all international safety and post-Fukushima IAEA requirements. It is designed to withstand the crash of a 400t airplane or earthquakes up to an intensity of 9 on the Richter scale.
Financing of the El Dabaa nuclear power plant
Russia will fund approximately 85% of the construction cost of the El Dabaa nuclear power project. It will provide a $25bn loan, under a financing agreement signed between the Ministry of Finance of Egypt and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. The loan is repayable over a period of 22 years at an interest rate of 3% a year.
The remaining 15% will be raised by Egypt from private investors.
The Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy of Egypt signed an agreement with Russian state-owned company Rosatom to build, finance and operate the nuclear plant in November 2015. Notices to implement the previously signed contract were signed on December 2017.
The contractual scope also includes the supply of nuclear fuel over the plant’s entire operational life and assistance for the operation and maintenance of the plant for the initial ten years of operation. Rosatom will also build storage and supply containers for storing spent fuel.
Gowling WLG has acted as the legal adviser in the negotiation of the contracts for the El Dabaa nuclear power plant since November 2015. The contracts included engineering, procurement and construction, spent nuclear fuel, nuclear fuel supply , as well as operations support and maintenance.
The EPC contract was awarded by the NPPA of Egypt to JSC Atomstroyexport in December 2016.
JSC ASE is acting as the general contractor for the project, while JSC Atomproekt was selected as the general designer.
Cover image credit: GE